Explain Eliminative Materialism. Explain an argument in its favor. Does the Argument succeed? In this paper I will discuss Eliminative Materialism, a theory in philosophy of mind.
First I will explain the term theory-theory, next Folk Psychology, as a theory will be discussed. Then, I will clarify the failure of Folk Psychology as per Eliminative Materialism. Last, I will explain an argument in favor of Eliminative Materialism. Finally, I will elucidate whether the argument succeeds or fails.
Functionally, a theory must make predictions, interpret evidence in new ways, and provide explanations of phenomena in its domain [http://www. iep. utm. edu/th-th-co/]. Science contains an ample amount of theories. For example, the theory of evolution in biology makes the prediction that all life forms arose from a common ancestor. In the event that a new species is to be discovered the theory of evolution can, based on its careful observations and classifications of life forms, predict the ancestors of the newly discovered species.
The theory of evolution does provide adequate explanation of phenomena in its domain; hence it is a successful theory. “The term “Theory-Theory” derives from Adam Morton (1980), who proposed that our everyday understanding of human psychology constitutes a kind of theory by which we try to predict and explain behavior in terms of its causation by beliefs, intentions, emotions, traits of character, and so on”[http://www. iep. uwtm. edu/th-th-co/]. The hypothesized theory of human behavior is “Folk Psychology”.
Folk Psychology provides explanations of human behavior, which is contingent on other mental states, like: desires, beliefs, fears, perceptions and so forth [Paul Churchland]. Hence, Folk Psychology has numerous mental states in its domain for which it provides explanations. To provide explanation of phenomenon and predictions Folk Psychology and other scientific theories use deductive nomological (law-like) explanations (Campbell). This is according to Paul Churchland.
Here is an example of a deductive nomological explanation of fear-behavior as per Folk Psychology: People who are exposed to something scary tend to be scared. People who tend to be scared shriek “Yahhhhooowww” I scared my friend by surprising her Therefore, My friend said “Yahhhhooowww” Deductive nomological predictions can be attained my manipulating the tenses. According to Paul Churchland Folk Psychology has become such an integral and seemingly natural part of our way of dealing with one another; we overlook its theoretical status.
Another reason for its seamless integration is the fact that Folk Psychology is an empirical revisionary theory. “It is so obviously a theory… The structural features of Folk Psychology parallel perfectly those of mathematical physics; the only difference lies in the respective domain of abstract entities they exploit-numbers in the case of physics, and propositions in the case of psychology”(Churchland) Being an empirical revisionary theory Folk Psychology excepts far more generalizations/exceptions than do other reputable theories (Campbell).
Now that we have seen that Folk Psychology shares theoretical underpinnings with actual scientific theories what is next? According to an Eliminative Materialist then Folk Psychology can be disproven/eliminated. The preceding also suggests that Folk Psychology is not innate (knowledge that is a priori) as we might believe. That our commonsense psychological framework may be completely erroneous. – “The presumed domain of folk psychology used to be much larger than it is now.
In primitive cultures, the behavior of most of the elements of nature were understood in intentional term. The wind could know anger… ” Churchland – The above shows reduction of the domain over the course of the years of folk psychology “Given that folk psychology is an empirical theory, it is at least an abstract possibility that its principles are radically false and that its ontology is an illusion. “(Churchland) Our Ontology is the catalogue of all things we believe actually exist in the universe. Campbell) “Born of innocence and tunnel vision” Churchland To measure Folk Psychology’s success “we must evaluate Folk Psychology with regard to its coherence and continuity with fertile and well-established theories in adjacent domains-with evolutionary theory, biology, and neuroscience. ” (Churchland). – Mention the failings of Folk Psychology here.
Specific example the process of learning. If folk psychology is something that is itself learned then folk psychology would thus appear incapable of even addressing how one learns. Folk psychology then comes across a theory that is at best a highly superficial theory, a partial and unpenetrating gloss on a deeper and more complex reality. A reality that can be uncovered only by mature neuroscience. – If we approach homo sapiens from the perspective of natural history and the physical sciences, we can tell a coherent story of his constitution, development, and behavioral capacities which encompasses…
That story, though still radically incomplete, is already extremely powerful, outperforming Folk Psychology at many points even in its own domain. – “On why is Folk Psychology hard to get rid of: Folk Psychology is a central part of our current lebenswelt, and serves as the principle vehicle of our interpersonal commerce. Foe these facts provide folk psychology with a conceptual inertia that goes far beyond its purely theoretical virtues. Folk psychology’s categories appear (so far) to be incommensurable with or orthogonal to the categories of the background physical science whose long-term claim to explain human behavior seems undeniable. What is Folk Psychology? Folk Psychology is the common-sense understanding of mental states [Stanford]. By “common-sense understanding” it is meant that mental states are not discerned in a scientific manner. Folk psychology encompasses the explanation and the prediction of behavior, the other-minds problem, the nature of introspection