chapter  4
11 Pages

Arguments for Eliminative Materialism

ByBarbara Hannan

One possible position the mind-body problem is at first sight rather startling: eliminative materialism (EM). This chapter provides concise yet comprehensive summary of the arguments that have been advanced in favor of EM. According to EM, mental states distinguished in terms of their propositional content ought to be eliminated from serious descriptions and explanations. There is an argument predicated upon the alleged explanatory inadequacy of commonsense propositional attitude psychology. The argument from reductionism for EM is much more interesting, and more challenging, than the argument charging that commonsense psychology is explanatorily inadequate. Eliminative materialists call attention to the following sort of consideration: Scientists discovered that lightning was an electrical discharge and that heat was molecular motion. EM in the philosophy of mind proceeds from the suspicion that commonsense psychology might be relevantly similar to black bile theory. The argument from reductionism for EM is much more interesting, and more challenging, than the argument charging that commonsense psychology is explanatorily inadequate.