Buddhist Selflessness and the Transformation of Folk Psychology

Philosophy East and West 69 (1):215-238 (2019)
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In this article I would like to reflect on Buddhist soteriology in light of debates in cognitive science and philosophy of mind on the nature of folk psychology. My point of departure is the argument of Paul and Patricia Churchland that our commonsense understanding of mind and behavior can, and indeed should, be transformed on the basis of scientific knowledge of the brain and its functioning. Like many theorists in the 1980s and 1990s, the Churchlands regarded folk psychology—our natural and spontaneous interpretation of human behavior in terms of mental states, preeminently beliefs and desires—as a theory akin to those folk theories used to explain natural phenomena in default of the modern scientific theories...



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