David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (2):213-230 (2012)
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
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Citations of this work BETA
Shannon Spaulding (2015). On Direct Social Perception. Consciousness and Cognition 36:472-482.
Shannon Spaulding (2015). On Whether We Can See Intentions. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (3).
Shaun Gallagher & Somogy Varga (2014). Social Constraints on the Direct Perception of Emotions and Intentions. Topoi 33 (1):185-199.
Mitchell Herschbach (2015). Direct Social Perception and Dual Process Theories of Mindreading. Consciousness and Cognition 36:483-497.
Vivian Bohl & Nivedita Gangopadhyay (2014). Theory of Mind and the Unobservability of Other Minds. Philosophical Explorations 17 (2):203-222.
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