Belief in Psychology: A Study in the Ontology of Mind

Belief in Psychology: A Study in the Ontology of Mind

by Jay L. Garfield


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Belief in Psychology: A Study in the Ontology of Mind by Jay L. Garfield

Belief in Psychology tackles the knotty problem of how to treat the propositional attitudes states such as beliefs, desires, hopes and fears within cognitive science. Jay Garfield asserts that the propositional attitudes can and must play useful theoretical roles in the science of the mind and stresses the importance of their social context in this sophisticated and original argument.

Garfield proposes his own alternative to the apparent dilemma of either scrapping the propositional attitudes or of making room for them within a dimly foreseen, futuristic cognitive science. He provides a characterization of the nature of propositional attitudes conceived as psychological states, and of their role in cognitive science. They must, he argues, be understood as relations between their bearers and their environments, including, in the case of persons, their social and linguistic environments. Understanding them in this way is consonant with current practice in empirical cognitive science and provides a philosophically useful analysis of mental representation.

Along the way, Garfield discusses the relationship between the enterprise of science and our commonsense conception of ourselves and the world, and the ways in which this relation constrains our understanding of the propositional attitudes, and illuminates a realistic interpretation of a psychology of representational states and processes. Belief in Psychology is the only book that adopts such a view, and it is unique in providing a sustained critique of eliminativism, instrumentalism, and computational individualism - the main competing proposals within philosophy of cognitive science for eliminating or reconciling propositional attitudes.

A Bradford Book.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262071086
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 03/14/1988
Series: Bradford Books Series
Pages: 180
Product dimensions: 20.00(w) x 25.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Jay Garfield is Doris Silbert Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Logic Program and of the Five College Tibetan Studies in India Program at Smith College, Professor in the graduate faculty of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Professor of Philosophy at Melbourne University and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies.

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