Brain & Cognition

Eliminativism

crop unrecognizable female psychologist and patient discussing mental problems during session
Posted by osheenjain

Eliminative materialism or eliminativism has been a significant focus of discussion for the past few years in the philosophy of mind. The theory claims that intention states and processes that allude in our everyday descriptions and explanations of mental lives are myths. According to eliminativists, there are no such things as thoughts or beliefs or desires or hope. They also claim that the common sense understanding of the mind is wrong, and all the mental states of common sense do not actually exist. 

To understand why Jerry Fodor suggested that if eliminativism is right, this might be the greatest intellectual catastrophe in the history of a species, let’s look at it from an epistemological perspective. Throughout history from Rene Descartes to the present epistemologists have tried to construct a theory that will tell us which of our beliefs are right and justified and which are not but if eliminativism is right then there are no justified beliefs, and in fact, there are no beliefs at all. From the perspective of anthropology, there are claims that emotions like fear and disgust are rooted by launching and that emotions are social constructions, and at a common perspective they are intentional States but if eliminativism is considered then the intentional states and no emotions at all. Thirdly, if we take the perspective of psychology, then everything done in clinical psychology is useless. 

Now if we consider Eliminativists, we cannot solve people’s problems just by the given rational beliefs and making them aware that desires are no such thing.

On the other hand, Belief Desire Psychology or Folk Psychology assumes that other people have concepts and that ordinary people understand other ordinary people in the assumption that their behavior is a result of their cognitive insights. 

Also that the beliefs and desires interact at some level with each other to produce intentions, which then lead to actions. We also see in real life that at some point when we see someone at which time to figure out what setup beliefs and desires were the motivation behind those actions. Even if our idea of other persons’ beliefs and designers may be wrong, we still have a hypothesis about other people’s beliefs and desires. 

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