Unnatural epistemology

Mind and Language 22 (2):132-149 (2007)
‘Naturalized’ philosophers of mind regularly appeal to the empirical psychological literature in support of the ‘theory-theory’ account of the natural epistemology of mental state ascription (to self and others). It is argued that such appeals are not philosophically neutral, but in fact presuppose the theory-theory account of mental state ascription. It is suggested that a possible explanation of the popularity of the theory-theory account is that it is generally assumed that alternative accounts in terms of introspection (and simulation) presuppose a discredited ‘inner ostensive definition’ account of the meaning of mental state terms. However, the inner ostensive definition account is not the only alternative to the theory-theory account of the meaning of mental state terms, and commitment to a theory-theory account of the meaning of mental state terms does not mandate commitment to a theory-theory account of the epistemology of mental state ascription.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0017.2007.00303.x
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