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What does Eliminative materialism argue?

Future scientific research will show that our understanding of the mind is fundamentally flawed. We will eventually abandon all talk of the mental in favour of talk about brain processes.


Why does Eliminative Materialism support elimination, rather than reduction?

Reductive theories all agree that mental properties do exist, but that they are reducible. Eliminativists argue that there are no mental properties; nothing exists which corresponds to terms like 'belief' and 'desire'


What is the name of the 'theory' of our everyday understanding of the mind?

Folk psychology


What kind of theory is folk psychology, and what exactly does this mean?

Folk psychology is an empirical theory. This means that it can be tested, and potentially found to be false. If it's laws were found to be unable to explain all behaviour, we should abandon common sense concepts.


What does folk psychology quantify over?

Mental states


Explain the phlogiston analogy

According to phlogiston theory, all flammable objects contain phlogiston. This theory was accepted as true, because for a time it had sufficient explanatory power. However, oxygen theory was later able to explain more about combustion than phlogiston theory. The latter was therefore abandoned in favour of the former, and phlogiston was eliminated.


What are the three reasons for rejecting folk psychology?

It lacks explanatory power, it is a stagnant research program, and it cannot be made consistent with other, generally accepted theories.


Explain the first problem with folk psychology

There are aspects of mental life which it leaves unexplained. For example, mental illness, learning, and sleep are not explained by folk psychology, while neuroscience addresses these issues.


Explain the second problem with folk psychology

Eliminativist Paul Churchland regards it as a 'research program' in which all human beings are engaged. A research program is stagnant if it has not progressed for a long time. Generally such theories are supplanted by more progressive ones, like neuroscience.


Explain the third problem with folk psychology

Aspects of folk psychology cannot easily be made consistent with other theories, particularly then ideas of qualia and intentionality. If it is not supported by empirically robust theories, we have reason for abandoning it. Strong theories are generally supported by one another, but FP has no such support.