Res Philosophica

Volume 93, Issue 2, April 2016

Philosophy of Fiction

Meg Wallace
Pages 405-424

Saving Mental Fictionalism from Cognitive Collapse

Mental fictionalism maintains that: (1) folk psychology is a false theory, but (2) we should nonetheless keep using it, because it is useful, convenient, or otherwise beneficial to do so. We should (or do) treat folk psychology as a useful fiction—false, but valuable. Yet some argue that mental fictionalism is incoherent: if a mental fictionalist rejects folk psychology then she cannot appeal to fictions in an effort to keep folk psychological discourse around, because fictions presuppose the legitimacy of folk psychology. Call this the Argument from Cognitive Collapse. In this paper, I defend several different mental fictionalist views against cognitive collapse.