eliminativism

30 Oct 2021 02:15 - 31 May 2022 08:14
Open in Logseq
    • There are various kinds of philosophical eliminativism, the most common being a philosophy of mind that holds that mental things (including consciousness, qualia, experience, and I guess ideas and concepts more generally) are not "real", whatever that means. Only physical things like electrons and the wavelengths of light are real. Concepts, emotions, and feelings and the like are mere folk psychology. Psychology is in a prescientific state, burdened by wrong ideas that are akin to caloric or phlogiston or alchemical humors, destined to be replaces by something realer when learning advances to a true scientific understanding.
    • This honestly makes no sense to me, which means maybe I don't truly understand the eliminativist position. Obviously things like "three" and "the aroma of frying garlic" and "democracy" are perfectly real, because we can refer to them and make sensible statements about them. They may not in all cases have a clear-cut material embodiment, but that is not the same thing. Why would you eliminate them? What are you going to replace them with, uninterpretable patterns of neural firing? How would that be an advance?
    • The name itself has an ominous ring. We know what what eliminativism means in politics and it isn't pretty. Eliminative materialists are not bent on genocide, but there is something oppressive and colonialist in their worldview, how they privilege a supposedly objective science over subjective lived experience (see bird's eye view vs. frog's eye view). I would rather not have my folk psychology eliminated, thank you very much.
    • I consider myself a materialist but this kind of materialism gives us a bad name. The point of materialistic or naturalist view of mind is not to eliminate it, but to explain it, to figure out how it is implemented and embodied in our physical brains and bodies, or in computational systems. You can't do that by discarding mental concepts just because they are "folk".