Fictionalism about folk psychology

Daniel Hutto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper argues that fictionalism about folk psychology, FaF, is not a successful way of dealing with eliminativist threats and other concerns about the status of everyday mental states. Its moral? Friends of folk psychology are best advised to deal with such threats by exposing them to lack justification rather than by attempting fictionalist ontological concessions. I make this case in the following steps. It is argued that motivating FaF by claiming that mental states with folk psychological properties might be useful fictions, as opposed to serious scientific posits, fails (Section 1). A different motivation for FaF, based on the assumption that folk psychology is a narrative practice with acknowledged explanatory limitations, is examined and also rejected (Section 2). The most compelling rationale for FaF – one that relies on supposing that folk psychological phenomena are less real than physical phenomena – is introduced (Section 3). In conclusion, four considerations are advanced to render any motivation for endorsing FaF on the basis of such assumptions unattractive (Section 4).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)n/a
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


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