The very idea of a folk psychology

Inquiry 30 (December):381-93 (1987)
Abstract
Three arguments are proposed against the idea that ordinary talk about the mind constitutes a folk psychology, a sort of prescientific theory which explains human behaviour and which is ripe for replacement by a neurological or computational theory with better scientific credentials. First, not all talk of the mind is introduced to explain in the way assumed by those who think that mental talk hypothesizes inner processes to explain behaviour. Second, the individuation of the behaviour which is explained by the inner processes itself requires reference to ?mental? states such as intentions or desires. Consequently the project is circular. Finally, scientific theory is a practice with a history which may be matched in the case of ordinary talk of the mind. Certainly ordinary talk of motives, intentions, and thoughts may be infected by the theorizing of economists and sociologists et al., but it is impossible that all talk of the mind should be theoretical in this way
Keywords Behavior  Philosophical Anthropology  Psychology  Theory
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