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n. the view that mental states, such as beliefs, feelings, and intentions, are not necessary to a scientific account of human behavior. These are regarded as the stuff of folk psychology, informal and intuitive concepts by which human beings offer accounts of their behaviors. According to the eliminativist view, when truly scientific psychology progresses far enough to replace folk psychology, the explanatory language of mental states will probably be replaced by a language of biological states. Also called eliminative materialism. See also identity theory; reductionism. Compare conscious mentalism; mentalism. —eliminativist adj.

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Psychology term of the day

February 24th 2024

preconscious thinking

preconscious thinking

1. the pictorial, magical, fantasy thinking of children that precedes the development of logical thinking. [introduced in 1938 by Austrian psychoanalyst Otto Fenichel (1897–1946)]

2. in psychoanalytic theory, thinking that takes place at the level of the preconscious. Preconscious thinking has sometimes been cited to explain apparently unconscious, intuitive thought processes, as well as certain kinds of creative leaps and insights.