Mental Fictionalism : Philosophical Explorations book cover
1st Edition

Mental Fictionalism
Philosophical Explorations

ISBN 9780367548957
Published May 6, 2022 by Routledge
384 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

What are mental states? When we talk about people’s beliefs or desires, are we talking about what is happening inside their heads? If so, might cognitive science show that we are wrong? Might it turn out that mental states do not exist? Mental fictionalism offers a new approach to these longstanding questions about the mind. Its core idea is that mental states are useful fictions. When we talk about mental states, we are not formulating hypotheses about people’s inner machinery. Instead, we simply talk "as if" people had certain inner states, such as beliefs or desires, in order to make sense of their behaviour.

This is the first book dedicated to exploring mental fictionalism. Featuring contributions from established authors as well as up-and-coming scholars in this burgeoning field, the book reveals the exciting potential of a fictionalist approach to the mind, as well as the challenges it faces. In doing so, it offers a fresh perspective on foundational debates in the philosophy of mind, such as the nature of mental states and folk psychology, as well as hot topics in the field, such as embodied cognition and mental representation.

Mental Fictionalism: Philosophical Explorations is essential reading for advanced undergraduates, postgraduates and professionals alike.

Table of Contents

Introduction: What is Mental Fictionalism? Tamás Demeter, T. Parent, and Adam Toon

Part 1: Proposals

1. Mental Fictionalism Meg Wallace

2. Fictionalism and Intentionality Adam Toon

3. A Rylean Mental Fictionalism William Lycan

4. A Mental Fictionalism Worthy of Its Name Tamás Demeter

5. Enactive-Ecological Fictionalism: An Eliminativism that Works Adrian Downey

Part 2: Challenges

6. The Sellarsian Fate for Mental Fictionalism László Kocsis and Krisztián Pete

7. What We Talk about When We Talk about Mental States Zoe Drayson

8. A Brickhouse Defence for Folk Psychology: How to Defeat ‘Big Bad Wolf’ Eliminativism Dan Hutto

9. Mental Fictionalism: The Costly Combination of Magic and the Mind Amber Ross

10. The Pragmatic Approach to Fictive Utterances and its Consequences for Mental Fictionalism Miklós Márton and János Tőzsér

Part 3: Explorations

11. I Think; Therefore, I am a Fiction T. Parent

12. Psychiatric Fictionalism Sam Wilkinson

13. Three Kinds of Fictionalism about Knowledge-Talk Julianne Chung

14. Mental Fictionalism: A Foothold Amid Deflationary Collapse Meg Wallace

Part 4: Alternatives

15. Mental Fact and Mental Fiction Tim Crane and Katalin Farkas

16. Interpretivism and Mental Fictionalism Bruno Mölder

17. Rejecting the Metaphysics of the Mental: An Advertisement for a Conceptual-Cartographical Exploration of our ‘Folk-Psychological’ Practices Julia Tanney

18. Am I a Fictionalist? Daniel C. Dennett.


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Tamás Demeter, Corvinus University of Budapest and Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest, Hungary.

T. Parent Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan.

Adam Toon, University of Exeter, UK.