Monday, April 24, 2006

Some loose ends on eliminativism

Hiero5ant: On most of these, I have been putting links to the previous discussion, but there may have been a few I missed. I should set up the links to track back so that people can read the whole discussion backward if necessary.

Tim: A finite rational mind that needs to explain rationality may be limited in its resources and even in its motivations. Even on theism and dualism, we have human minds and not divine ones. We have the ability to see logical relationships, to string those perceptions together into an inference opens us up for error.

Kip: Are you saying that we cannot be aware of something unless we are aware of it through sense experience? Do we have good reason to believe that everything we are immediately aware of, whatever is directly evident, is given to us through a sensory modality?

BDK: I would like to work through the eliminativism issue a bit more systematically, working through Hasker's, to my mind, outstanding critique, with some supplementation from Angus Menuge's Agents Under Fire. In the process I'd like to try to explain why some of the responses to EM have been as vehement as they have been, hopefully giving you a chance to see if the critics are guilty of misunderstandings.

I am working my way back through your old posts to see if you have provided some explanation of why a opposing Fodorian representationalism is treated as sufficient for a critique of propositional attitude psychology. But I have to pick up my copy of Neurocomputational Perspective from the college's Inter-Library Loan.

4 comments:

Tim said...

“A finite rational mind that needs to explain rationality may be limited in its resources and even in its motivations. Even on theism and dualism, we have human minds and not divine ones. We have the ability to see logical relationships, to string those perceptions together into an inference opens us up for error.”

But why? Where is the explanation for your assertions?
All I see here is a great deal of question-begging.
t.

Blue Devil Knight said...

I don't think a critique of Fodor is transparently a critique of the folk, but the Churchland's target is most perspicuous when they attack Fodor. This is because it is not clear what folk psychology really is. To the extent that a theory claims that cognitive contents are propositionally structured (whatever that, exactly, means), to that extent the hardcore eliminative materialists will think the theory will be quined. Clearly this is part of folk psychology (e.g., John ran after the postman because he believed that the postman delivered someone else's package).

I agree that not all consciousness is of sensory events. For instance, the tip of the tongue phenomenon, that infuriating experience that I know a word but can't find it. What modality is that?

I'll email you a summary of the manuscript Paul is sending me where he addresses some of the realism concerns (he said it's like 100 pages long, so it will be a while).If you could email me your email address, my email is thomson [at] neuro [dot] duke [dot] edu.

Victor Reppert said...

Tim: I think that the issue of what kind of rational mind is required by the argument from reason, and why this doesn't leave us expecting perfect minds, is something of a separate issue that is distinct from the issue of eliminativism we are considering here. After all, there are plenty of "retentive" materialists out there. So I will start a separate thread to deal with those issues.

Tim said...

Thanks.

I do see it at least loosely connected here as a defect in folk psychology. It (folk psychology) has had several thousand years to answer questions like this without success. Will be interested in your take on this.
t.