Eliminativism and the Neuroscience of Consciousness

Richard Brown, Mar 21, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The idea of 'eliminativism' is that our common-sense psychological concepts such as 'beliefs', 'desires', etc., don't actually exist. This has important implications for education, since pretty much all of educational theory depends on these concepts. I am an eliminativst philosophically; I don't think you actually find thoughts, beliefs or desires (or signs, symbols, models or representations) in the brain. That doesn't mean we can't use the words, it's just that we need to be very careful about invoking them in explasnations. It's like using the language of 'windows' and 'folders' to talk about a computer. "Clicking on the folder will bring up a menu showing where your saved files are, etc. But it would be a mistake to think that this gave you any idea about how the computer was working. It is not storing little file folders away."

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