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Matt_Simpson comments on Why the beliefs/values dichotomy? - Less Wrong

20 Post author: Wei_Dai 20 October 2009 04:35PM

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Comment author: Matt_Simpson 22 October 2009 06:47:42AM 2 points [-]

Paul Churchland calls the belief/values (he says belief/desires) model "folk psychology" and assigns a low probability to it "being smoothly reduced by neuroscience" rather than being completely disregarded like, say, the phlogiston theory of combustion. The paper is called Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes and was printed in The Journal of Philosophy. I didn't find the paper all that convincing, but your mileage may vary.

This paper was cited along with another by someone (can't remember who) arguing that the belief/values theory of behavior (i.e. expected utility theory) doesn't capture how humans behave. The second paper I think argues that much of what we do can be explained by control theory without reference to beliefs or values, but I haven't read it yet.

The papers are:

Churchland, Paul. Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes, The Journal of Philosophy.

van Gelder, Tim. What Might Cognition be, if not Computation?, The Journal of Philosophy.

For those of you who don't have the benefit of a university subscription to J-stor or something similar, I have pdfs of both papers. Just shoot me an email at : themattsimpson AT <googlemail> DOT company