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Paperback | $25.00 Short | £17.95 | ISBN: 9780262690928 | 280 pp. | 6 x 9 in | February 1985

From Folk Psychology to Cognitive Science

The Case against Belief


The average person has a rich belief system about the thoughts and motives of people. From antiquity to the beginning of this century, Stephen Stich points out, this "folk psychology" was employed in such systematic psychology as there was: "Those who theorized about the mind shared the bulk of their terminology and their conceptual apparatus with poets, critics, historians, economists, and indeed with their own grandmothers."

In this book, Stich puts forth the radical thesis that the notions of believing, desiring, thinking, prefering, feeling, imagining, fearing, remembering and many other common-sense concepts that comprise the folk psychological foundations of cognitive psychology should not - and do not - play a significant role in the scientific study of the mind.


"A common view of cognitive science is that it is succeeding in making honest scientific theories of our everyday mentalistic lore—doing for folk psychology more or less what Galileo did for folk physics. There are a variety of avenues to this optimistic and comfortable view: Stich claims to have blocked them all. . . This is the best sort of expert research and authorship. It is vivid, informed, up-to-the-minute, and vigorously argued."
- Daniel C. Dennett

"It would not be much of an exaggeration to say that the (philosophical) world has been waiting for this book."
- William G. Lycan