Deconstructing the Mind

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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. A group of prominent philosophers known as eliminativists argue that advances in cognitive science and neuroscience will ultimately justify a rejection of our folk theory of mind because it gives a radically mistaken account of mental life. In Deconstructing the Mind, distinguished philosopher Stephen Stich, once a leading advocate of eliminativism, offers a bold and compelling reassessment of this view. The book opens with a groundbreaking multi-part essay in which Stich maintains that even if the sciences develop in the ways that eliminativists foresee, none of the arguments for ontological elimination are tenable. Succeeding essays explore folk psychology in more detail, develop a systematic critique of simulation theory, and counter widespread concern about naturalizing psychological properties.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Stich's argument, presented in the first chapter, will surely become a classic essay in the study of mind....Surely ought not to be missed."—Choice

"Deconstructing the Mind promises to be one of the most fascinating and interesting books in the philosophy of mind in recent years."—John R. Searle, University of California-Berkeley

"This book is a delight. Written with Stich's inimitable style and verve, it throws a great deal of light on burning issues about the mind."—Michael Devitt, University of Maryland at College Park

"Stich is one of the clearest writers on the philosophical scene today. He has a rare gift for expounding the opposition's position better than they do themselves. Taken together with an inspiring willingness to reassess his own positions, these virtues generate a book that does more than deliver the probing arguments we have come to expect from Stich, they produce a role model for young philosophers."—Robert Cummins, University of Arizona

"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 folk theories, 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 are eliminated."—William G. Lycan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195126662
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/17/1998
  • Series: Philosophy of Mind Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Rutgers University, New Brunswick
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Table of Contents

1. Deconstructing the Mind
2. Connectionism, Eliminativism, and the Future of Folk Psychology, with William Ramsey and Joseph Garon
3. What Is Fold Psychology?, with Ian Ravenscroft
4. How Do Minds Understand Minds? Mental Simulation versus Tacit Theory, with Shaun Nichols
5. Intentionality and Naturalism, with Stephen Laurence
6. Naturalism, Positivism, and Pluralism

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