Monthly Archives: April 2012

Nice Guy Materialism

Patricia Churchland

There’s a good interview by Julian Baggini with Patricia Churchland in the current issue of The Philosophers’ Magazine.  Follow the links from talkingphilosophy or just go there to discuss it.  What’s particularly interesting, for me anyway, is Churchland’s discussion of the widespread misrepresentation of her view, eliminative materialism.  Almost everyone thinks she’s arguing that folk psychological categories don’t match up with neuroscientific ones, and that therefore such things as beiefs and desires don’t really exist.  But that’s not her view at all.  She explains why she and Paul Churchland called it ‘eliminative’ materialism as opposed to the more accurate ‘revisionary’ materialism — she wishes it were called almost anything else, even Nice Guy Materialsm.  Interesting to hear from her exactly how the view got the name that it did (sounds like a marketing decision).  Also interesting to read a famous philosopher who knows how to use salty language.

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Filed under mind, tpm

Empty Ideas

The April issue of The Philosophers’ Magazine is now published. It contains an interesting piece by Peter Unger (you can read it here), who argues that contemporary philosophy consists in little more than empty ideas. By this he means that philosophers no longer make substantial claims about concrete reality, no longer debate assertions that say the world is one way rather than some other way. The greats argued for and against dualism, materialism, even idealism, but we’re reduced, lately, to bickering with Kripke about the origins of tables. If you ask me, I think Kripke was right to resign over allegations that he faked many of his thought experiments. But before you worry too much about that, have a look at the current issue of tpm.

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Filed under philosophy, tpm