Psychology

Materialism

Materialism – An Objection to Analytical Behaviorism The theory of materialism s that any that has existence is material and that whatever is mental either has no existence or can be identified with material objects. This theory was first put forward by Thomas Hobbes who claimed that sense is what brings about materialism. Through sense, human beings are able to think, dream, imagine, and even remember. For him all that is mental is either partly sense or stems from sense. For example if one feel pain, Hobbes claim that the pain is material since it is a motion in one’s body. Therefore, whatever is mental is material to ones body (Cornman et al. 163). Kinds of materialism: Reductive materialism- Claim that material events within a person are the material entities. Eliminative materialism- Claims that mental entities are non-existent since they can be removed from human beings conception of the universe Arguments for eliminative materialism. 1. Analytical behaviorism, which analyses psychological expressions meaning within a language. 2. One does not need mental entities to explain certain purposes. In other words, that there is no relationship whatsoever between mental entities and human behavior and hence there is no need to use them such explanations. Because of that, mental entities can therefore be eliminated. Analysis of analytical behaviorism. Analytical behaviorism contents that in as much as psychological terms may be used in sentences, there is no need for one to conclude that mental entities exist since those sentences can be changed and use terms that are only related to material events and items as well as states. That not withstanding, analytical behaviorist hold that can still be materialists since acknowledge that something is true does no necessarily mean that you will commit yourself to it or that you will start following its tenets (Cornman et al. 164) . They ascertain that psychological sentences are just about forms of people’s behavior. The adopted analysis concept is the most important in analytical behaviorism. What can therefore of interest to us in our contextual understanding is the meaning analysis, a linguistic technique that checks meanings of linguistic expression in some two ways. First, is coming up with a linguistic expression that is similar with the previous one and the second one is providing similar expressions but with additional linguistic expressions and also that which has expressions that are very different from the original expression. Types of meaning analysis 1. Explicit definition 2. Contextual definition Explicit definition does not apply to analytical behaviorism since they define things as they are. For example, a human is defined as a rational animal. Contextual meaning is what is used in analytical behaviorism for it gives specific definition according to the context of the term. For example, contextual definition can be elaborated by using a sentence such as, in Kenya, 3.5 people die every day of H.I.V. and AIDS. If the assumption of the sentence is true, and some people can also be convinced that indeed it is true, and then wonder how a half a person can die since we said 3.5 people. Then we have to explain to them that they misinterpreted the statement. Here we are not referring to actual people since there is no such a thing as a half a person. However, the expression in the sentence refers to ordinary people. Therefore, entities with contextual definitions have been eliminated and in ordinary entity expression has been left. It is this technique that analytical behaviorists use to create psychological sentences (Cornman et al. 165). Justification of analytical behaviorism Mental sentences can be made to be similar to those sentences that contain behavior terms and other term which are not mental and therefore, in order to describe behavior in a person, only mental terms will be used since the assumption is that mental terms are employed on all that is mental. Ultimately, the justification become that mental entities do not exist (Cornman et al. 168). Objections to analytical behaviorism. 1. Belief sentences cannot be anaysed using analytical behaviorism. All efforts that were put in place to analyze belief sentences to behaviorism sentences did not yield anything. This was proven using examples which could not be changed to be similar with the belief sentences and if they were made synonymous, it was only possible because technical terms that did not have any use had been used (Cornman et al 170). Since it is hard to turn psychological language into behavioral language, people use heavy scientific words instead of psychological terms. This does not aid the analytical behaviorist whatsoever (Cornman et al. 171). 2. The analogy between demons and pains. That when people caught diseases, the witchdoctors claimed that the diseases were caused by demons and the reason is that the witchdoctors had taken mushrooms, which brought about hallucinations but the reason why people feel pain worldwide is not explained and therefore eliminative materialism cannot be confirmed (Cornman et al. 173). 3. Folk psychology and the human behavior. It does not give explanations and when it does, the explanation is not always good to explain why people behave the way they do. For example, sleep, and mental illness. This is contested by a neuroscientist who will give a more predictable explanation of why people behave the way they do. Hence, eliminative materialism is not proven otherwise (Cornman et al. 176). Work Cited Cornman, James W., Lehrer Keith, and Pappas George S. Philosophical Problems and Arguments: An Introduction. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub Co Inc, 1991. Print

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