Simulation, simplicity, and selection: an evolutionary perspective on high-level mindreading [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Studies 152 (2):271 - 285 (2011)
In this paper, I argue that a natural selection-based perspective gives reasons for thinking that the core of the ability to mindread cognitively complex mental states is subserved by a simulationist process—that is, that it relies on nonspecialised mechanisms in the attributer's cognitive architecture whose primary function is the generation of her own decisions and inferences. In more detail, I try to establish three conclusions. First, I try to make clearer what the dispute between simulationist and non-simulationist theories of mindreading fundamentally is about. Second, I try to make more precise an argument that is sometimes hinted at in support of the former: this 'argument from simplicity' suggests that, since natural selection disfavours building extra cognitive systems where this can be avoided, simulationist theories of mindreading are more in line with natural selection than their competitors. As stated, though, this argument overlooks the fact that building extra cognitive systems can also yield benefits: in particular, it can allow for the parallel processing of multiple problems and it makes for the existence of backups for important elements of the organism's mind. I therefore try to make this argument more precise by investigating whether these benefits also apply to the present case—and conclude negatively. My third aim in this paper is to use this discussion of mindreading as a means for exploring the promises and difficulties of evolutionary arguments in philosophy and psychology more generally
|Keywords||Mindreading Evolution Simulation Theory Simplicity|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
A. Goldman (2006). Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading. Oxford University Press.
Daniel C. Dennett (1978). Brainstorms. MIT Press.
Jerome Barkow, Leda Cosmides & John Tooby (eds.) (1992). The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture. Oxford University Press.
Elliott Sober & David Sloan Wilson (1998). Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior. Harvard University Press.
Shaun Nichols & Stephen P. Stich (2003). Mindreading. An Integrated Account of Pretence, Self-Awareness, and Understanding Other Minds. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Mauro Rossi (2014). Simulation Theory and Interpersonal Utility Comparisons Reconsidered. Synthese 191 (6):1185-1210.
Armin Schulz (2013). The Benefits of Rule Following: A New Account of the Evolution of Desires. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 44 (4a):595-603.
Armin W. Schulz (2013). The Benefits of Rule Following: A New Account of the Evolution of Desires. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):595-603.
Similar books and articles
Shannon Spaulding (2011). A Critique of Embodied Simulation. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (3):579-599.
Mitchell Herschbach (2012). Mirroring Versus Simulation: On the Representational Function of Simulation. Synthese 189 (3):483-513.
Alvin I. Goldman (2009). Mirroring, Simulating and Mindreading. Mind and Language 24 (2):235-252.
Frédérique De Vignemont (2009). Review: Drawing the Boundary Between Low-Level and High-Level Mindreading. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 144 (3):457 - 466.
Frédérique de Vignemont (2009). Drawing the Boundary Between Low-Level and High-Level Mindreading. Philosophical Studies 144 (3):457 - 466.
Added to index2009-11-25
Total downloads59 ( #71,820 of 1,902,168 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #280,997 of 1,902,168 )
How can I increase my downloads?