Monday, December 17, 2007

An Annotated Elimination of the Explanatory Gap

If you've seen the tirade of entries tagged under "consciousness studies" it's because I'm building a thesis about the primacy of folk theories in neuropsychology and philosophy of mind and why they should be eliminated.

To summarize, I've argued that there is an explanatory gap between folk theories and physics, but necessarily so because folk theories are false.

I argued that the folk theories that explain the reason why think qualia and propositional attitudes must exist are based on a misleading one-to-one hypothesis which infers that, if there is a prima facie case for mental states upon introspection, then subsequently there must be something in physics that can explain what we're introspecting about.

I argued that, not only are qualia and propositional attitudes like the falsified folk scientific theories of the past, like phlogiston and demons, but the ontological and phenomenological arguments for them are remarkably similar and share the same structure as the arguments for the existence of God.

Subsequently, these theories are at risk for elimination, and should be placed on program which will lead to their eventual phasing-out, while we search for theories that can replace them adequately.

There are various benefits of eliminating these problems. We get to reap all the benefits of turning the "hard problems" of consciousness, like the Mary Problem and the Zombies Problem, into mere pseudo-problems that do not need to be solved.

Consequently, physics is complete and does not need to rely on non-physical or quasi-physical properties and states to have explanatory power.

Lastly, we can quit being agnostic materialists and become eliminative materialists.

(There is still more work to be done, however, especially on the semantic thesis likening qualia's and propositional attitudes' intertheoretic irreducibility to folk-theoretic irreducibility.)

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