Feser Nails It
Here, discussing Alex Rosenberg:
The first argument claims that “neuroscience makes eliminativism about propositional attitudes unavoidable.” A propositional attitude is a relation between a thinker and a certain proposition or content. When we say that Fred believes that it is raining, we are attributing to him the attitude of believing the proposition that it is raining; when we say that Ethel hopes that it is sunny, we are attributing to her the attitude of hoping that the proposition that it is sunny is true; and so forth. Neuroscience, Rosenberg tells us, shows that there is no such thing as believing, hoping, fearing, desiring, or the like.Rosenberg's argument is on a par with Ken B.'s contention here that the fact of evolution somehow refutes idealism, despite the fact that idealists were suggesting evolutionary biology before Darwin and that no idealist after 1858, of whom I am aware, ever rejected Darwin or saw any problem at all for idealism in his findings. Except at least Ken B. has the excuse that he is not a professional philosopher.
Now in fact, it takes very little thought to see that “neuroscience” shows no such thing. For there is nothing in the neuroscientific evidence cited by Rosenberg that couldn’t be accepted by an Aristotelian, a Cartesian, a Wittgensteinian, a Whiteheadian, or an adherent of some other metaphysics. What Rosenberg should say is: “Neuroscience, when conjoined with the specific version of naturalism taken for granted by many (though by no means all) contemporary academic philosophers of an analytic bent, makes eliminativism about propositional attitudes unavoidable.” That claim is plausible, if, for obvious reasons, not quite as earth-shattering as Rosenberg’s way of putting it was.