Volume 14, 2000
Folk Psychology, Mental Concepts and the Ascription of Attitudes
On David Lewis’ Philosophy of Mind
Are there eliminativist tendencies in Lewis’s theory of mind? Prima facie one would like to give a negative answer to this question. Lewis (1994) conceives his theory as “Reduction of Mind”. Certainly, both reduction and elimination of mental states are regarded as materialist, yet nevertheless as competive strategies. Relying on folk psychology (FP), as Lewis does, is objected to by eliminativists who denounce FP mainly because they think it is a theory that is essentially wrong. Yet, Lewis sees the importance of FP residing only in its causal schemes that explain behavior and not in its role of specifying internal states by specific mental properties. Should therefore the reduction of mental states not be considered as eliminativist in a certain sense? There is an ambiguity in these concepts that forbids an immediate answer. The problem will be elaborated in section II and III with regard to intentional and qualitative mental states. As a preliminary tho that I discuss in section I central aspects and problems of Lewis’ theory of mind.