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EmergenceContemporary Readings in Philosophy and Science$
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Mark A. Bedau and Paul Humphreys

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262026215

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262026215.001.0001

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Real Patterns

Real Patterns

(p.189) 9 Real Patterns

Daniel C. Dennett

The MIT Press

This chapter questions the reality of beliefs in relation to philosophy and science. Generally, philosophers agree that there can be only two possibilities: either beliefs exist or they do not. There is no such state as quasi existence since there are no stable doctrines of semirealism. Beliefs must either be vindicated or banished. There is a conviction which prevails, to the effect that when it comes to beliefs, one must be either a realist or an eliminative materialist. The chapter aims to dispel the misconceptions that have led to the proliferation of “ontological positions” about beliefs, such as the different grades or kinds of realism. Five quintessential examples are the main focus: Fodor’s Realism, Davidson’s realism, the author’s realism, Richard Rorty’s irrealism, and Paul Churchland’s eliminative materialism.

Keywords:   reality of beliefs, quasi existence, semirealism, realist, eliminative materialist, Fodor, Davidson, Richard Rorty, Paul Churchland

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