The mentalizing folk

Protosociology 16:7-34 (2002)
Three major questions should be answered by any theory of “folk psychology”, or mentalizing. The first question concerns the contents of mental concepts; the second concerns the processes of mental-state attribution ; and the third concerns the development or acquisition of mentalizing skills. Some major problems are presented for different variants of the “theory-theory” approach, namely, philosophical functionalism, the child-scientist approach, and the modularist approach. The approach favored here is an “introspection-simulation” approach: introspection as an account of first-person mental-state attribution, and simulation as an account of third-person mental-state attribution. The simulationist part of the story is clarified and defended in some detail, including a discussion of the relation between knowledge and simulation. Special attention is given to empirical findings that support the notion that pretend states could really be “facsimiles” of their genuine counterparts, a relationship that seems to be required if simulation is to produce successful mental-state attributions
Keywords Folk  Mental States  Mind
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