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Philosophy of Mind .Info

Substance Dualism

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Philosophy of Mind

Substance Monism

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Eliminative Materialism

Eliminative Materialism

Eliminative materialism agrees with materialism that everything is physical, that we do not have immaterial minds. It goes beyond this, however, and advances a specific linguistic thesis: we ought to eliminate from our vocabulary all language associated with dualism.

Much thought occurs in language. Our language therefore affects what thoughts we can have. If we do not have a word for a concept, then we will not be able to formulate thoughts about it.

According to eliminative materialism, our language includes much that is misleading. Words such as “pain”, “joy”, and “desire” all imply the existence of qualia, subjective mental states that are irreducible to physical states. These words, according to materialists, mislead us; there are no qualia to go with these mental states. We should therefore eliminate this ‘folk-psychology’ from our language, in order to eliminate it from our thought.

 

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