Friday, August 2, 2019
Habits and Explanation Essay -- Psychology Science Papers
Habits and Explanation Habits form a crucial part of the everyday conceptual scheme used to explain normal human activity. However, they have been neglected in debates concerning folk-psychology which have concentrated on propositional attitudes such as beliefs. But propositional attitudes are just one of the many mental states. In this paper, I seek to expand the debate by considering mental states other than propositional attitudes. I conclude that the case for the autonomy and plausibility of the folk-psychological explanation is strengthened when one considers an example from the non-propositional-attitude mental states: habits. My main target is the radical eliminativist program. As regards habits, eliminativists could argue in two distinct but related ways. They can either abandon the concept "habit" altogether or retain the folk-psychological term "habit" by reducing it to the causal chain of the observed behavior pattern, as is sometimes done in social theory. I contend that both of these strategie s are defective. The correct way to talk about habits is in terms of manifestations and activating conditions, not in terms of causal chains. Hence, if eliminativists take up either of the two arguments given above, they will not succeed. Correspondingly, by the added generality gained through the consideration of habits, the case for folk-psychology is strengthened. If you do something often and in a way which appears settled, you are normally described as having a habit. We assume we have habits as parts of skills, habits of social behaviour, and also deeper ones, like habits of thought. Even those who are good at using Ockham's razor confess sometimes their acceptance of habits. Hume admits that we all have a habit of j... ...s folk science, and belief versus opinion', in: The Future of Folk-Psychology: Intentionality and Cognitive Science, ed. J.D. Greenwood, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 135-148. Jackson, F., and Pettit, P., 1990, 'Program Explanation: a general perspective', Analysis, vol. 50, pp. 107-117. Pettit, P., 1993, The Common Mind, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Stich, S.P., 1983, From Folk-Psychology to Cognitive Science: The Case against Belief, Cambridge Mass.: MIT Press. Terrence, H., and Woodward, J., 1985, 'Folk psychology is here to stay', The Philosophical Review 94, reprinted in: The Future of Folk-Psychology: Intentionality and Cognitive Science, ed. J.D. Greenwood, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 149-175. Turner, S., 1994, The Social Theory of Practices: Tradition, Tacit Knowledge and Presuppositions, Oxford: Polity Press.