Beyond Eliminative Materialism: Some Unnoticed Implications Of Churchland's Pragmatic Pluralism

Contemporary Pragmatism 8 (1):173-189 (2011)
Abstract
Paul Churchland's epistemology contains a tension between two positions, which I will call pragmatic pluralism and eliminative materialism. Pragmatic pluralism became predominant as his epistemology became more neurocomputationally inspired, which saved him from the skepticism implicit in certain passages of the theory of reduction he outlined in Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind. However, once he replaces eliminativism with a neurologically inspired pragmatic pluralism, Churchland cannot claim that folk psychology might be a false theory, in any significant sense; cannot claim that the concepts of Folk psychology might be empty of extension and lack reference; cannot sustain Churchland's criticism of Dennett's "intentional stance"; cannot claim to be a form of scientific realism, in the sense of believing that what science describes is somehow realer that what other conceptual systems describe.
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