Scott Sehon, Teleological Realism: Mind, Agency, and Explanation, MIT Press, 2005.
Based on this review by Sarah Worley, Sehon’s book appears to be one of the latest installments in anti-naturalist philosophy of mind.
From Kant to McDowell and beyond, there is a long tradition of philosophers who maintain that the mind as such cannot be understood by science. In alternative to science, a favorite of contemporary anti-naturalist analytic philosophers is “common sense.”
I always wonder what anti-naturalists think of the work of Freud, Skinner, Piaget, Chomsky, Miller, Newell and Simon, and thousands of other alleged scientists of the mind. Sheds no light? Haven’t gotten around to reading it yet? They rarely pronounce themselves on the matter, and when they do, in my experience they don’t exhibit a satisfactory understanding of science.
To support his case, apparently Sehon argues that common sense psychology is not proto-science. For if common sense psychology was proto-science, then it should be either reducible to scientific psychology or replaced by it, which means it cannot be an alternative to it.
I’m not sure what proto-science is. To know that, I would need to understand what science is–independently of common sense–and what a proto-X is. But as far as I can tell, science is common sense, though refined and regimented through self-conscious reflection and criticism. I don’t think this is a radical idea, or even a new one. At any rate, I think it’s better than any account of science proposed by anti-naturalist philosophers. I have defended a special version of it for the use of introspective reports in the sciences of mind (J. Consciousness Studies, 2003). Of course, if science is just refined common sense, any claim that common sense is an alternative to science is misguided.