Simulation, theory, and the frame problem: The interpretive moment

Philosophical Psychology 14 (2):141-153 (2001)
The theory-theory claims that the explanation and prediction of behavior works via the application of a theory, while the simulation theory claims that explanation works by putting ourselves in others' places and noting what we would do. On either account, in order to develop a prediction or explanation of another person's behavior, one first needs to have a characterization of that person's current or recent actions. Simulation requires that I have some grasp of the other person's behavior to project myself upon; whereas theorizing requires a subject matter to theorize about. The frame problem shows that multiple, true characterizations are possible for any behavior or situation. However, only one or a few of these characterizations are relevant to explaining or predicting behavior. Since different characterizations of a behavior lead to different predictions or explanations, much of the work of interpersonal interpretation is done in the process of finding this characterization - that is, prior to either theorizing or simulating. Moreover, finding this characterization involves extensive knowledge of the physical, cultural, and social worlds of the persons involved.
Keywords Application  Behavior  Frame  Person  Psychology  Science  Simulation
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DOI 10.1080/09515080120051535
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Shaun Nichols, Stephen P. Stich, Alan M. Leslie & David B. Klein (1996). Varieties of Off-Line Simulation. In Peter Carruthers & Peter K. Smith (eds.), [Book Chapter]. Cambridge University Press 39-74.
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