Interactionism and Mindreading

In recent years, a number of theorists have developed approaches to social cognition that highlight the centrality of social interaction as opposed to mindreading (e.g. Gallagher and Zahavi 2008 ; Gallagher 2001 , 2007 , 2008 ; Hobson 2002 ; Reddy 2008 ; Hutto 2004 ; De Jaegher 2009 ; De Jaegher and Di Paolo 2007 ; Fuchs and De Jaegher 2009 ; De Jaegher et al. 2010 ). There are important differences among these approaches, as I will discuss, but they are united by their commitment to the claim that various embodied and extended processes sustain social understanding and interaction in the absence of mindreading and thus make mindreading superfluous. In this paper, I consider various ways of articulating and defending this claim. I will argue that the options that have been offered either fail to present an alternative to mindreading or commit one to a radical enactivist position that I will give reasons for being skeptical about. I will then present an alternative and moderate version of interactionism, according to which the embodied and extended processes that interactionists emphasize actually complement mindreading and may even contribute as an input to mindreading
Keywords Mindreading  Theory of Mind  Social Cognition  Interaction  Enactivism
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DOI 10.1007/s13164-011-0066-z
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