The origins of folk psychology

Inquiry 30 (December):357-79 (1987)
Folk psychology is the psychology deployed by ordinary folk and by scientists in ordinary life. At its most basic level, it consists of deploying the concept of mind to explain and predict behavior. This article (i) considers how folk psychology may have begun, by considering an imaginary race of primitive folk deploying the rudimentary nucleus of the psychology, or a rudimentary concept of mind, and (ii) examines one argument for the evolutionary emergence and adaptivity of folk psychology. The crucial issue emerging from this is how primitive folk could have competently deployed the concept or the psychology in such a way as to survive and proliferate in consequence of successfully predicting behavior. Dennett and others are on the right track when they regard folk psychology as adaptive. But care and caution are needed in resolving the issue of competent deployment.
Keywords Folklore  Mind  Philosophical Anthropology  Psychology
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DOI 10.1080/00201748708602129
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John Searle (1983). Intentionality. Oxford University Press.

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