Mental fictionalism: a foothold amid deflationary collapse

In Tamas Demeter, Adam Toon & T. Parent (eds.), Mental Fictionalism: Philosophical Explorations. Routledge. pp. 275-300 (2022)
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This paper examines three meta-ontological deflationary approaches – frameworks, verbal disputes, and metalinguistic negotiation – and applies them to ontological debates in philosophy of mind. An intriguing consequence of this application is that it reveals a deep, systematic problem for mental deflationism – specifically, a problem of cognitive collapse. This is surprising; cognitive collapse problems are usually reserved for serious ontological views such as eliminative materialism and mental fictionalism, not deflationism. This paper investigates why deflationism about the mental is particularly problematic, and provides an explanation as to why mental fictionalism is in principle better equipped to address collapsing problems than deflationism is.

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Meg Wallace
University of Kentucky


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