What is Paul Churchland's argument for eliminative materialism? What is 'eliminative materialism'?
What is the contribution or potential contribution, of pragmatism to the philosophy of science? What
exactly is 'the philosophy of science'?
What part does empiricism play in Deleuze's philosophy?
Eliminative materialism doesn't reduce the mental to the physical, so you can be a realist about the
consciousness as well as an eliminative materialist. Rather it is the view that psychology is to be
eliminated in favour of a more scientific account of human behaviours, which doesn't mean we
necessarily have to give up psychological talk, just that it is false. Churchland has a four part
argument for eliminative materialism. Firstly, that we can't reduce psychological states to underlying
neurological states because different types of systems can underlie functional states hints that
psychological descriptions are false. Secondly, it is obvious that though we have used folk
psychological description of behaviour in terms of belief and desire for thousands of years, we haven't
advanced very far and have little understanding of memory and sleep, for instance, and thirdly, it
doesn't explain abnormal cases of human behaviour. Finally, folk psychology isn't really a developing
system of explanation, and remains primitive and although it seems deeply ingrained as part of our
conceptual scheme, there is no reason why it can't be given in the same way as "caloric" and
"phlogiston" have been. Furthermore, other theories such as an identity theory seek matches
between intentional states and neurological states without developing probabilistically in terms of
likely success, so it is plausible to take the position that there is no such thing.
The impossibility of inter-theoretic reduction may well be true. However, it is argued in favour of folk
psychology and against Churchland that we are making psychological advances and that depth
psychology which applies to abnormal human behaviours is an extension of folk psychology.
I'm afraid I don't know much about the philosophy of science but, according to my dictionary, it is the
critical examination of the methods and results of the sciences. The pragmatist holds that a scientific
theory is true if it helps explain the relations between our experiences, so it is anti-realist. The
pragmatists Dewey and Peirce stressed the social nature of science rather than whether or not
scientific theories adequately describe the way things are. The main contribution is that a scientific
theory is accepted rather than true which justifies scientific induction and has allowed scientific
methods to expand into non-physical realms such as psychology. Pragmatism is an approach to
theorising that allows Deleuze, in analysing a cinematic image to say at one point "Knowing whether
an image is subjective or objective no longer matters"
On the Deleuze question, British Empiricists hold that we acquire knowledge of the world from
experience, which is not the sort of empiricist Deleuze claims to be. He calls himself a transcendental
empiricist and introduces a level of immanence, or being as Life, which would be necessary for
knowledge and so knowledge could not be simply built from Humean impressions and relations.
Thought, for Deleuze creates the truth, shaping the way we see things, both empirically and
aesthetically. Images come dominated by thought and separation and the empirical image has no
priority over metaphorical understanding in this sense. So this is not British Empiricism, since while
Deleuze says that the sensible comes first (as British Empiricists understand the basis of knowledge),
for Deleuze, this is not simple Humean sense ideas or abstract Lockean ideas, since for Deleuze the
sensible comes as something already actualised or differentiated by thought, determined by both
movement (our bodies) and sense experience.
French empiricism, unlike British, is a form of naturalism, rather than an account of how we acquire
knowledge and though it gives priority to sensory experience over the rational but Deleuze allows for
a variety of enriched experiences which cannot be reduced to ordinary empirical experience which is
why he is a radical empiricist. Searching the internet I find there is a book called Multiplicity and
Becoming: The Pluralist Empiricism of Gilles Deleuze, Studies in European Thought XV which you
might want to look at if you need background in European thought and empiricism.
Looking into how Deleuze is classified, I find that in the philosophy of the desiring subject, Deleuze is
called a naturalist, yet in his theory of literature, he is called an idealist.
In his theory on literature, Deleuze has been called a "structural idealist" (see Literary and Theory and
Poetryed. David Murray) because of his creation of a de-territorialized "cultural space", and in his
cinematic work he takes the medium to have it's own expressive space, differing from the empirical,
and given his claim that the cinema contributes to the way we view the world, again Deleuze might be
described as a non-empiricist but forces which give rise to cultural or a filmic space, give rise to a
structured experience, even if the force is not directly from the objective world. There are different
types of force giving to rise to our thoughts and ideas. The empiricism lies in the priority of the
sensory or experiential, but this can be produced by any medium, forces creating different (but each
equally real) systems of reference.