On the Contrary

On the Contrary

Critical Essays, 1987-1997

By Paul M. Churchland and Patricia S. Churchland

Paul and Patricia Churchland take on their critics—with verve, combativeness, and generosity.

A Bradford Book





Paul and Patricia Churchland take on their critics—with verve, combativeness, and generosity.

Paul M. and Patricia S. Churchland are towering figures in the fields of philosophy, neuroscience, and consciousness. This collection was prepared in the belief that the most useful and revealing of anyone's writings are often those shorter essays penned in conflict with or criticism of one's professional colleagues. The essays present the Churchlands' critical responses to a variety of philosophical positions advanced by some two dozen philosophical theorists. The book is divided into three parts: part I, Folk Psychology and Eliminative Materialism; part II, Meaning, Qualia, and Emotion: The Several Dimensions of Consciousness; and part III, the Philosophy of Science. V. S. Ramachandran and Rick Grush are coauthors on two of the essays.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262032544 368 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262531658 368 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


  • Paul Feyerabend once wrote, 'the hardest task needs the lightest hand.' The Churchlands have the light hand, and put it to good use in On the Contrary. Ranging over some of the most controversial topics of the past decade, the book illustrates and elaborates their influential perspective on mind, knowledge, and science. It is written in the familiar Churchland style-feisty, but always gracious; fast-moving but without superficiality; ambitious, and yet modest.

    Tim van Gelder

    Department of Philosophy, The University of Melbourne, Australia

  • These provocative essays by the Churchlands herald the impact that advances in our understanding of the brain are having on science, society, and who we imagine ourselves to be.

    Terrence J. Sejnowski

    Professor, Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Investigator, Hughes Medical Institute