Eliminative materialism and the integrity of science

  • Michael M. Pitman Psychology – School of Human & Community Development University of the Witwatersrand Private Bag 3 WITS 2050 South Africa.


Eliminative Materialism (EM) holds that propositional attitude folk psychology is a radically false theory of human cognition, communication and behaviour. The paper reviews the argument that EM is self-defeating. Although this argument is unsuccessful, it is argued that EM ought to be considered epistemically self-undermining. EM\'s truth would undermine the epistemic warrant of the theories (from cognitive neuroscience) typically taken as motivating the eliminativist thesis. EM fails to recognise that, in the psychological sciences, the mind is both the object and instrument of study. Radically changing the instrument changes the background conditions and epistemic underpinnings of all inquiry. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.22(3) 2003: 207–219

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eISSN: 0258-0136