|Philosophy of mind, epistemology, moral psychology|
Stephen P. Stich (born May 9, 1943) is a professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science at Rutgers University, as well as an Honorary Professor in Philosophy at the University of Sheffield. Stich's main philosophical interests are in the philosophy of mind, epistemology, and moral psychology. His 1983 book, From Folk Psychology to Cognitive Science: The Case Against Belief, received much attention as he argued for a form of eliminative materialism about the mind. He changed his mind, in later years, as indicated in his 1996 book Deconstructing the Mind.
Stich was an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania from 1960-1964 where he was a member of the Philomathean Society. He received his BA in 1964 (Summa Cum Laude with distinction in Philosophy). He did graduate work at Princeton University from 1964-1968, he received his PhD in 1968.
Stich joined the University of Sheffield as an honorary professor in their philosophy department in February 2005. He remains primarily at Rutgers, but visits Sheffield periodically, where he teaches and works at the Hang Seng Centre for Cognitive Studies.
Stich is primarily known in philosophy for his work in the philosophy of mind, cognitive science, epistemology, and moral psychology. In philosophy of mind and cognitive science, Stich (1983) has argued for a form of eliminative materialism—the view that talk of the mental should be replaced with talk of its physical substrate. Since then, however, he has changed some of his views on the mind. See Deconstructing the Mind (1996) for his more recent views. In epistemology, he has explored (with several of his colleagues) the nature of intuitions using the techniques of experimental philosophy, especially epistemic intuitions that vary among cultures—see Stich (1988) and Stich, et al. (2001). This work reflects a general skepticism about conceptual analysis and the traditional methods of analytic philosophy. In The Fragmentation of Reason he briefly sketched a form of epistemic relativism "in the spirit of pragmatism."
He and Shaun Nichols are responsible for a theory of how humans understand the mental states of ourselves and others, or mindreading, which they present in Nichols and Stich (2003). Their theory is a hybrid, containing elements of both the simulation theory and theory theory, and also aims to explain the mental architecture that enables pretence.