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Pieces of MindThe Proper Domain of Psychological Predicates$
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Carrie Figdor

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198809524

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198809524.001.0001

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The Nonsense View

The Nonsense View

(p.89) 5 The Nonsense View
Pieces of Mind

Carrie Figdor

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 is the first of three chapters articulating alternatives to Literalism. Chapter 5 presents Bennett and Hacker’s Wittgenstein-inspired criticism of ascriptions of psychological capacities to brains by cognitive neuroscientists. On their view the uses violate semantic rules of proper use and so are nonsensical. The mereological fallacy, as they label this conceptual violation, is to ascribe psychological features of persons to their parts. This chapter shows that their criticism fails by their own standards, and that it is not endorsed by neuroscientists aware of their criticism. It presents Dennett and Searle’s responses to Bennett and Hacker, and contrasts their responses to the Literalist view.

Keywords:   Maxwell Bennett, P. M. S. Hacker, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Daniel Dennett, John Searle, mereological fallacy, nonsense, cognitive neuroscience

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