Shaw, J. (2021). Feyerabend Never Was an Eliminative Materialist: Feyerabend’s Meta-Philosophy and the Mind–Body Problem. In K. Bschir & J. Shaw (Eds.), Interpreting Feyerabend: Critical Essays (pp. 114-131). Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108575102.007 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340065806_Feyerabend_Never_was_an_Eliminative_Materialist
Abstract:
Most contemporary philosophers of mind cite Feyerabend as an early proponent of eliminative materialism, or the thesis that there are no mental processes. This attribution, I argue, is incorrect. Rather, Feyerabend only showed that common objections against materialism presuppose problematic meta-philosophical commitments. In this paper, I show how Feyerabend’s meta-philosophy leads him to the conclusion that the mind-body problem admits of many different solutions which are to be sorted out as science progresses. Moreover, I show how Feyerabend’s view evolves from a methodological to an ethical view on what a proper solution to the mind-body problem would entail.
Citing Place (1956) in context (citations start with an asterisk *):
Section 1: Preamble
* For Feyerabend, there are many possible answers to the mind-body problem that come from stipulating ontological bases that can be subjected to empirical scrutiny. The empirical scrutiny leads to progress, not the ‘solution.’ Fn1: This conclusion is not unique to Feyerabend. Place (1970)[=1956], Patricia Churchland (2002), Dennett (2006), and others also construe materialism as a scientific hypothesis. Thus Bickle (1998, p. 40) is wrong to suggest that ‘traditional’ formulations of the mind-body problem were ontological and reformulating the debate as scientific is a ‘recent’ development; this formulation was there from the beginning.