- Originally a disparaging term, now widely used, for the process of attributing thoughts, beliefs, intentions, and meanings to each other (the ‘folk’ referred to include such masters of human understanding as Shakespeare and Tolstoy, as well as the rest of us). The term arises from unease that ordinary processes of attribution do not seem ‘scientific’, and the categories they use fit with difficulty into the categories of physical science (see Brentano's thesis ). Often the term invites contrast with a supposed future when there will be a science whose terms will quite eclipse the categories with which we normally describe each other, perhaps by being more comprehensive, less vague, and better matched to a scientific understanding of ourselves. See also eliminativism, reductionism.
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.
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