The Monist 99 (3):280-295 (2016)

Adam Toon
University of Exeter
Mental fictionalism is the view that, even if mental states do not exist, it is useful to talk as if they do. Mental states are useful fictions. Recent philosophy of mind has seen a growing interest in mental fictionalism. To date, much of the discussion has concerned the general features of the approach. In this paper, I develop a specific form of mental fictionalism by drawing on Kendall Walton’s work on make-believe. According to the approach I propose, talk of mental states is a useful pretence for describing people and their behaviour. I try to clarify and motivate this approach by comparing it to well-known alternatives, including behaviourism, instrumentalism and eliminativism. I also consider some of the challenges that it faces.
Keywords Philosophy of mind  Fictionalism  Mental fictionalism  Behaviourism  Instrumentalism  Eliminativism
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DOI 10.1093/monist/onw005
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References found in this work BETA

Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind.Wilfrid S. Sellars - 1956 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 1:253-329.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Cultural Evolution of Mind-Modelling.Richard Moore - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):1751-1776.
The Sellarsian Fate of Mental Fictionalism.László Kocsis & Krisztián Pete - forthcoming - In Tamas Demeter, Ted Parent & Adam Toon (eds.), Mental Fictionalism: Philosophical Explorations. New York: Routledge. pp. chapter 6.
Musical Agency and Collaboration in the Digital Age.Tom Roberts & Joel Krueger - 2022 - In Kath Bicknell & John Sutton (eds.), Collaborative Embodied Performance: Ecologies of Skill. New York: Bloomsbury. pp. 125-140.

View all 11 citations / Add more citations

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