This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Folk Psychology In Churchland’s Eliminative Materialism

2140 words - 9 pages

Folk Psychology in Churchland’s Eliminative Materialism

The mind-body problem has kept philosophers busy ever since Descartes proposed it in the sixteenth century. The central question posed by the mind-body problem is the relationship between what we call the body and what we call the mind—one private, abstract, and the origin of all thoughts; the other public, concrete, and the executor of the mind’s commands. Paul Churchland, a proponent of the eliminative materialist view, believes that the solution to the mind-body problem lies in eliminating the single concept that allows this problem to perpetuate—the folk psychological concept of mental states. Churchland argues that the best theory of mind is a materialistic one, not a folk psychological one. Unlike other materialist views such as identity theory, Churchland wants to remove the idea of mental states from our ontology because mental states cannot be matched 1:1 with corresponding physical states. This is why Churchland’s view is called eliminative materialism—it is a materialistic account of the mind that eliminates the necessity for us to concern ourselves with mental events. At first this eliminative materialism appears to be a good solution to the mind-body problem because we need not concern ourselves with that problem if we adopt Churchland’s view. However, there is a basic flaw in his argument that raises the question of whether we should actually give up folk psychology. In this paper, we will first walk through the premises of Churchland’s argument, and then we will explore whether Churchland does a suitable job of justifying our adoption of eliminative materialism.

The central point of eliminative materialism is that we should discard our idea of mental states. Instead of adhering to Armstrong’s materialist identity theory, which posits that there is a 1:1 correspondence between mental and physical states, Churchland denies the idea that any consistent mind-body identity can be achieved. The materialist identity theory was called into doubt because, as Churchland describes, “…it seemed unlikely that the arrival of an adequate materialist theory would being with it the nice one-to-one matchups, between the concepts of folk psychology and the concepts of theoretical neuroscience, that intertheoretic reduction requires” (Churchland 349). The reason for this was that different physical systems can instantiate the same mental state, such as when I notice that both my roommate and her dog are happy. Even though the neurology of a dog’s brain is greatly different from my roommate’s brain, they both still appear to be happy. Hence, identity theory became doubtful because it could not explain how the same mental state can be caused by two completely different physical systems. Because we cannot match mental states with physical states, Churchland advocates that we should eliminate our idea of mental states. We are simply mistaken that they are a part of our ontology; it is not...

Find Another Essay On Folk Psychology in Churchland’s Eliminative Materialism

Mind body problem Essay

6819 words - 27 pages Cartesian dualism, after Descartes.Another view says that there simply are no mental phenomena. There is only the physical world. The existence of consciousness, therefore, must be some kind of massive delusion: contrary to popular opinion, nobody has any opinions, desires, or feelings. We are all just mindless automata. This lunatic view may be called radical materialism or eliminative materialism.A fourth view is that there are no physical phenomena

Materialism in America Essay

1667 words - 7 pages activities that were needed to sustain life (Psychology Today). As this Theory of Innate Materialism got tossed out of the window, other Psychologists tried to offer a different explanation. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi stated that the cause of materialism is an evolutionary mechanism that aids in our survival. Csikszentmihalyi reported that we are innately dissatisfied and this “dissatisfaction keeps living beings on a look-out for

When Men Began To Think: Revisiting the Ancient Asian Thinking

818 words - 3 pages "folk psychology" which is a sentential psychology and semantics e.g. belief and (propositional) knowledge, subject-predicate grammar (and subject-object metaphysics) truth and falsity, and inference. These concepts may have given birth and help the spread of logic in Greece and India, again in contrast to pre-Buddhist China. Other noticeable similarities include structural features of related concepts of time, space, objecthood and causation. These

Arguments Against Dualism

1243 words - 5 pages and the same thing and there cannot be in existence any other non-physical entity therefore . Materialism is one of the major theories that greatly oppose dualism. Arguments against Dualism Before we proceed to critique dualism, it is imperative we first understand the arguments that dualists put forward in regards to the exact nature of their theory. Descartes was one of the major proponents of this theory. Dualists generally believe that things

What is Culture?

1789 words - 7 pages itself with Marxist and the Frankfurt School’s literary criticisms on culture with an emphasis on class relations and social structure. Contrary to materialism, idealism governs itself in the creation of concepts to adequately explain the current world through ideas through the literary works of Matthew Arnold, F.R. Leavis and Q.D. Leavis, hence the Arnoldian and Leavisism criticisms of culture. Marxism is a form of historical materialism where

The New Negro

1274 words - 5 pages efficiency for African leisure and Asiatic contemplation they might gain tremendously in happiness, the world might be less afraid to give up economic imperialism.”To Du Bois, the most important possession of the New Negro community was their Souls, “The Souls of Black Folk,” as he puts it. The “Souls” provided a “resistance to materialism,” and is the “greatest ‘gift’ that those behind the Veil have to offer those outside it.” Du Bois believes that

Comparing Anthropology, Sociology, and Psychology Schools of Thought

2541 words - 10 pages nurture, rather than nature. Therefore, the study of anthropology is by no means universal, which makes anthropology unique from all other social sciences. Just as every culture is unique, the methods of researching these cultures are ultimately unique as well.Cultural materialism identifies technological and economic factors as the most important in molding a society. The theory of determinism is a materialist suggestion that the types of


1359 words - 5 pages Art's often-witty celebrations of consumer society. Perhaps the greatest Pop artist, whose innovations have affected so much subsequent art, was the American artist, Andy Warhol (1928-87). The term ``Pop Art'' was first used by the English critic Lawrence Alloway in a 1958 issue of Architectural Digest to describe those paintings that celebrate post-war consumerism, defy the psychology of Abstract Expressionism, and worship the god of materialism

Karl Marx Essay

3059 words - 12 pages materialism). Economic reality develops according to Hegel's dialectical principles; that is, reality must deny itself in order to reach a higher degree of being.In application, this principle means that the present organization of society must be destroyed (even through violent revolution, if necessary, because only through such destruction can a better political, economic, and social organization be achieved. To establish this new format of

Investigation social sciences

543 words - 2 pages societies reinforce different values. Marvin Harris was the materialist that developed Cultural materialism, which focuses on how people adopt themselves to new environments and how much society changes over time. Psychology is the study of human behavior and feelings under certain conditions. Fraud was one of the psychologists that were interested in outward behavior and he discovered the 3 parts of mind, which are ego, id and superego. He

High Culture

1838 words - 7 pages and Q.D. Leavis further support Arnold’s concern on the anarchy of the ‘uncultivated’ masses and the importance of the ‘educated’ minority by arguing that capitalism is bad for society because it fosters the separation in society (Swingewood, 1977:6). According to both Arnold and Leavis, the English culture of class society is threatened by globalization. The industrial age threatens the authenticity in the folk songs and dances of the low

Similar Essays

In Defense Of The Use Of Folk Psychology In Audience Analysis

2953 words - 12 pages from the scientific in his discussion of audience in Ars Rhetorica, relying heavily on folk psychology. In defense of Aristotle’s use of folk psychology, I posit that the practical nature of rhetoric aligns its theories better with intuitive theories of emotional states. To demonstrate this, it is necessary to: first, define folk psychology; second, illustrate that Aristotle indeed relied on folk psychology for his theories of audience; and third

Identity Theory And Folk Psychology Essay

1421 words - 6 pages . Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional AttitudesFirst Philosophy (Edited by Andrew Bailey,2002, Toronto: Broadview Press): Fundamental Problems and Reading in Philosophy (pp457-474)3. Guttenplan S(1994). Folk Psychology (I), A Companion to the Philosophy of Mind,300-307, London: Blackwell4. Longman Contemporary English-Chinese Dictionary (2000) ISBN7-80028-011-X/Z 007 Modern Press, Beijing.5. Place U.T., The Identity Theory: Is Consciousness a

Exploring The Different Theories Involved In The Mind And Body Problem

2580 words - 10 pages phenomena simply do not exist at all, that talk of the mental reflects a totally spurious ‘folk psychology’ that simply has no basis in fact, something like the way that folk science speaks of demon-cursed illness. Eliminative materialism is an extreme reductionist theory, which appears to discount the possibility of a scientific psychology. Materialism has neuroscience on its side most neuro scientists believe in the

Meditation And The Brain Essay

1509 words - 6 pages some of the work of the psychotropic drugs that either block or facilitate the uptake of certain neurotransmitters. Both Freudianism and Neurobiology have, in large measure, looked at religion and spirituality as things to be replaced with either psychoanalysis or eliminative materialism. However, recent studies of meditation and prayer demonstrate that they are compatible with modern science and 20th Century psychology. Additionally, the