7 Belief and Practice

Someone who tries to purchase statues is—in an important sense—like someone who tries to hunt unicorns. Both are doomed to failure. For there are neither statues in the galleries nor unicorns in the woods. Someone who tries to acquire a statue is—in an important sense—not remotely like someone who tries to bag a unicorn. One needs money, the other therapy. In this chapter I shall explore how, given the truth of eliminativism, belief in statues (and in the other inanimate macrophysical objects of folk ontology) resembles, and how it differs from, belief in objects like unicorns.


I False Folk Beliefs

In Chapter 1 (§III) I considered the claim that folk uses of sentences like 'there are statues' or 'statues exist' mean only that there are some things arranged statuewise. This claim was part of a challenge to the very coherence of eliminativism. But, I argued, this claim about meaning is false. And so for this reason, among others, that challenge failed.

I shall here reconsider this claim about meaning. But I am not now concerned with challenges to eliminativism's coherence or even to its truth. I am instead concerned with Peter

-162-

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Objects and Persons
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Objects and Persons iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • 1: Explaining Eliminativism 1
  • 2: Considerations in Favour of Eliminativism 30
  • 3: Epiphenomenalism and Eliminativism 56
  • 4: Surviving Eliminativism 85
  • 5: Considerations in Favour of Eliminating Us? 118
  • 6: Mental Causation and Free Will 138
  • 7: Belief and Practice 162
  • References 191
  • Index 201
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