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Reading: Eliminating Eliminative Materialism


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Eliminating Eliminative Materialism


Perry Hendricks

Trinity Western University, CA
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Eliminative materialism is a bold position in philosophy of mind: proponents of it hold that folk psychology is a primitive theory of human behavior, and like most primitive theories, it is, unfortunately, false. The alarming implications of this are that mental states don’t actually exist—humans don’t actually believe anything. In this paper I try to show that several central claims of eliminative materialism (specifically Paul Churchland’s version) are mistaken and, further, that it is, in fact, false. I first argue that folk psychology is not a theory, and that a proper understanding of the nature of basic beliefs, non-basic beliefs, and theories makes this clear; next, I claim that the eliminative materialist response to the charge of incoherence is inadequate as it misunderstands what mental states are; finally, I offer an argument for the falsity of eliminative materialism on common sense grounds, while undercutting objections to the argument by way of scientific anti-realism.

How to Cite: Hendricks, P., 2015. Eliminating Eliminative Materialism. International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, 7(2), pp.4 (21–28). DOI:
Published on 29 May 2015.
Peer Reviewed


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