Saturday, January 7, 2012

Eliminating Reductivism

Bill Vallicella has a couple of great posts on the attempt to avoid eliminative materialism while still maintaining a reductive materialist stance. His first post engages Jaegwon Kim's Physicalism, or Something Near Enough, a book I desperately want to read, and his second post clarifies some issues. Good stuff.


Nate said...

Question from a non-philosophy person.
Reductive materialist means that a person's state of being is just the sum of his or her material pieces.
But eliminating reductivism is means you can't trust your states of being?
I didn't understand that part.

Jim S. said...

Roughly, type physicalism says that certain experiences, like pain, will eventually be shown to be referring to a type of physical process in the brain, like the firing of C-fibers. So pain reduces to C-fibers firing.

Eliminativism doesn't say that pain is the same thing as the firing of C-fibers, it says that there is no such thing as pain, only the firing of C-fibers. Nobody has ever been in pain, no one has ever experienced pain. All people have experienced is C-fibers firing.