Theory-Theory and the Direct Perception of Mental States

Abstract
Philosophers and psychologists have often maintained that in order to attribute mental states to other people one must have a ‘theory of mind’. This theory facilitates our grasp of other people’s mental states. Debate has then focussed on the form this theory should take. Recently a new approach has been suggested, which I call the ‘Direct Perception approach to social cognition’. This approach maintains that we can directly perceive other people’s mental states. It opposes traditional views on two counts: by claiming that mental states are observable and by claiming that we can attribute them to others without the need for a theory of mind. This paper argues that there are two readings of the direct perception claims: a strong and a weak one. The Theory-theory is compatible with the weak version but not the strong one. The paper argues that the strong version of direct perception is untenable, drawing on evidence from the mirror neuron literature and arguments from the philosophy of science and perception to support this claim. It suggests that one traditional ‘theory of mind’ view, the ‘Theory-theory’ view, is compatible with the claim that mental states are observable, and concludes that direct perception views do not offer a viable alternative to theory of mind approaches to social cognition
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,360
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA
    George Botterill (1996). Folk Psychology and Theoretical Status. In Peter Carruthers & Peter K. Smith (eds.), Theories of Theories of Mind. Cambridge University Press. 105--118.
    Fred Dretske (1969). Seeing And Knowing. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press.

    View all 29 references

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Hisayasu Kobayashi (2010). Self-Awareness and Mental Perception. Journal of Indian Philosophy 38 (3):233-245.
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2012-03-17

    Total downloads

    58 ( #22,301 of 1,088,854 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    6 ( #17,283 of 1,088,854 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


    Discussion
    Start a new thread
    Order:
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.