Folk psychological and phenomenological accounts of social perception

Philosophical Explorations 11 (3):223 – 235 (2008)
Theory theory and simulation theory share the assumption that mental states are unobservable, such that mental state attribution requires an extra psychological step beyond perception. Phenomenologists deny this, contending that we can directly perceive people's mental states. Here I evaluate objections to theory theory and simulation theory as accounts of everyday social perception offered by Dan Zahavi and Shaun Gallagher. I agree that their phenomenological claims have bite at the personal level, distinguishing direct social perception from conscious theorizing and simulation. Their appeals to phenomenology and other arguments do not, however, rule out theory theory or simulation theory as accounts of the sub-personal processes underlying social perception. While I here remain uncommitted about the plausibility of sub-personal theorizing and simulation, I argue that phenomenologists must do more in order to reject these accounts
Keywords The Nature of Folk Psychology  Theory of Mind, Misc
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DOI 10.1080/13869790802239268
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Shannon Spaulding (2015). On Direct Social Perception. Consciousness and Cognition 36:472-482.

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