David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Inquiry 48 (3):249 – 274 (2005)
One reason why the problem of other minds keeps cropping up in modern philosophy is that we seem to have conflicting intuitions about our access to the mental lives of others. On the one hand, we are inclined to think that it is wrong to claim, like Cartesian dualists must, that the minds of others are essentially inaccessible to direct experience. But on the other hand we feel that it is equally wrong to claim, like the behaviorists, that the mental lives of others are completely accessible to an outside spectator. This paper attempts to address the problem of the accessibility of other minds while staying faithful to both these intuitions. Central to this undertaking is the idea that we express our mental lives in our bodily behavior. With a firm grasp of the notion of expression, as it is developed in the writings of Wittgenstein and Levinas, we can understand how other minds can be directly perceivable and yet retain a certain inaccessibility. The key is to emphasize the difference between the expressive appearance of a human being and the way an object appears in perception.
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Thomas Nagel (1979/2012). Mortal Questions. Cambridge University Press.
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Citations of this work BETA
Dan Zahavi (2011). Empathy and Direct Social Perception: A Phenomenological Proposal. [REVIEW] Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (3):541-558.
Nivedita Gangopadhyay & Katsunori Miyahara (2014). Perception and the Problem of Access to Other Minds. Philosophical Psychology (5):1-20.
Philip J. Walsh (2014). Empathy, Embodiment, and the Unity of Expression. Topoi 33 (1):215-226.
Peter Atterton (2011). Levinas and Our Moral Responsibility Toward Other Animals. Inquiry 54 (6):633 - 649.
Jack Reynolds (2010). Problems of Other Minds: Solutions and Dissolutions in Analytic and Continental Philosophy. Philosophy Compass 5 (4):326-335.
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