Fodor's vindication of folk psychology and the charge of epiphenomenalism

Journal of Philosophical Research 21 (January):183-196 (1996)
Abstract
Jerry Fodor has long championed the view, recently dubbed “scientific intentional realism” (Loewer and Ray, 1991, p. xiv), that “a scientifically adequate psychology will contain laws that quantify over intentional phenomena in intentional terms.” On such a view our belief/desire psychology will be “vindicated” through empirical investigation; that is, it will be shown to denote the explanatory (or causally salient) states or events in the production of thought and behavior. That intentional properties, states, or events have causal efficacy---are not mere epiphenomena---is necessary for any such vindication. This paper investigates whether intentional properties can if fact ground or sustain the causal relations empirical psychology aims to reveal. I conclude that intentional properties are not amenable to such an explanatory role, and that, therefore, a different vindication of intentional description is required of the realist
Keywords Epiphenomenalism  Epistemology  Folk Psychology  Fodor, J
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DOI 10.5840/jpr_1996_25
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