The Sellarsian Fate of Mental Fictionalism

In Tamás Demeter, T. Parent & Adam Toon (eds.), Mental Fictionalism: Philosophical Explorations. New York & London: Routledge. pp. 127-146 (2022)
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This chapter argues that mental fictionalism can only be a successful account of our ordinary folk-psychological practices if it can in some way preserve its original function, namely its explanatory aspect. A too strong commitment to the explanatory role moves fictionalism unacceptably close to the realist or eliminativist interpretation of folk psychology. To avoid this, fictionalists must degrade or dispense with this explanatory role. This motivation behind the fictionalist movement seems to be rather similar to that of Sellars when he came up with the Myth of Jones, his proto-theory of mental concepts. He was faced with the problem of preserving the explanatory status of mental concepts without turning them into proper theoretical entities. By introducing the Sellarsian proto-theory of concepts related to the mental and outlining its main points, this chapter aims to provide a critique of the two versions of mental fictionalism that are arguably the strongest: Adam Toon’s prop-oriented pretence theory and Tamás Demeter’s expressive storyism.

Author Profiles

Krisztián Pete
University of Pécs
László Kocsis
University of Pécs


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