The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

July 16, 2012

July 16, 1943

Eliminative materialism is the position that people's mental states do not actually exist, but are reducible to brain function. One leading proponent of such ideas is Patricia Smith Churchland, born July 16, 1943, in Canada. She is currently at UCSD, where her husband, a fellow neurophilosopher, as they call themselves, is also on the faculty. Churchland's arguments are similar to her point that a cat can be put in a state of rage through electrical stimulation, even when any threat is absent. Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science of the Mind-Brain.(1986) is one of her books.  If I thought there was anything fresh in her arguments, I would look at it. Nothing I have read suggests to me, however, that her thought is anything but binary---your answer must be reality is physical, or mental. Old old stuff, and the kind of argument which fails to explain the persuasiveness of what they label illusion, or the necessity of addressing such. Labeling something an "illusion" solves nothing, it merely points to a starting point for questions. How does this illusion relate to the brain? How does the illusion remain consistent and manageable over various brains? Through what processes does the illusion hook into the meat end? 

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