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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