Deconstructing the Mind

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byStephen P. Stich

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Over the last two decades, debates over the viability of commonsense psychology have been center stage in both cognitive science and the philosophy of mind. Eliminativists have argued that advances in cognitive science and neuroscience will ultimately justify a rejection of our "folk" theoryof the mind, and of its ontology. In the first half of this book Stich, who was at one time a leading advocate of eliminativism, maintains that even if the sciences develop in the ways that eliminativists foresee, none of the arguments for ontological elimination are tenable. Rather than beingresolved by science, he contends, these ontological disputes will be settled by a pragmatic process in which social and political considerations have a major role to play. In later chapters, Stich argues that the widespread worry about "naturalizing" psychological properties is deeply confused,since there is no plausible account of what naturalizing requires on which the failure of the naturalization project would lead to eliminativism. He also offers a detailed analysis of the many different notions of folk psychology to be found in philosophy and psychology, and argues that simulationtheory, which purports to be an alternative to folk psychology, is not supported by recent experimental findings.

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From Our Editors

During the past two decades, debates over the viability of commonsense psychology have occupied center-stage in both cognitive science and the philosophy of mind. From early childhood onward, we all predict and explain human behavior by invoking mental states like beliefs and desires, but do these familiar states actually exist? A grou...

From the Publisher

Over the last two decades, debates over the viability of commonsense psychology have been center stage in both cognitive science and the philosophy of mind. Eliminativists have argued that advances in cognitive science and neuroscience will ultimately justify a rejection of our "folk" theoryof the mind, and of its ontology. In the firs...

From the Jacket

In Deconstructing the Mind, distinguished philosopher Stephen Stich, once a leading advocate of eliminativism, offers a bold and compelling reassessment of this view.

Stephen P. Stich is at Rutgers University at Brunswick.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:232 pages, 9.41 × 6.42 × 0.83 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195100816

ISBN - 13:9780195100815

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Table of Contents

1. Deconstructing the Mind2. with William Ramsey and Joseph Garon: Connectionism, Eliminativism, and the Future of Folk Psychology3. with Ian Ravenscroft: What Is Fold Psychology?4. with Shaun Nichols: How Do Minds Understand Minds? Mental Simulation versus Tacit Theory5. with Stephen Laurence: Intentionality and Naturalism6. Naturalism, Positivism, and PluralismReferencesIndex

From Our Editors

During the past two decades, debates over the viability of commonsense psychology have occupied center-stage in both cognitive science and the philosophy of mind. From early childhood onward, we all predict and explain human behavior by invoking mental states like beliefs and desires, but do these familiar states actually exist? A group of prominent philosophers known as eliminativists argues that they do not, contending that commonsense mental states are fictions, products of a tacit and deeply flawed "folk" theory of mind that gives a radically mistaken account of mental life. Recent advances in cognitive science and neuroscience, eliminativists maintain, underscore the shortcomings of commonsense psychology and make it very likely that a mature science of the mind/brain will reject commonsense mental states in much the same way that modern chemistry and physics reject caloric fluid and phlogiston. In Deconstructing the Mind, distinguished philosopher Stephen Stich, once a leading advocate of eliminativism, offers a bold and compelling reassessment of this view.

Editorial Reviews

"This is an important new book. Belying his title, Stich deconstructs the deconstruction, minutely examining the case for eliminative materialism and finding it feeble. However, his positive project is not to vindicate the mind. Rather, it is to explore anew the relations between folktheories, reference, existence, and the justification of existence claims. Stich's discussion of these matters is very rich; it includes, among many other things, the best investigation I know of the reasons why some theoretical entities are reduced under theory replacement while others areeliminated."--William G. Lycan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill