Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in theories of mindreading. New discoveries in neuroscience have revitalized the languishing debate. The discovery of so-called mirror neurons has revived interest particularly in the SimulationTheory (ST) of mindreading. Both ST proponents and theorists studying mirror neurons have argued that mirror neurons are strong evidence in favor of ST over TheoryTheory (TT). In this paper I argue against the prevailing view that mirror neurons are evidence for (...) the ST of mindreading. My view is that on an appropriate construal of their function, mirror neurons do not operate like simulation theorists claim. In fact, mirror neurons are more appropriately understood as one element in an information-rich mindreading process. As such, mirror neurons fit in better with some sort of TT account of mindreading. I offer a positive account, the Model TT, which better explains the role of mirror neurons in social cognition. (shrink)
The theory of mind debate has reached a “hybrid consensus” concerning the status of theory-theory and simulation-theory. Extant hybrid models either specify co-dependency and implementation relations, or distribute mentalizing tasks according to folk-psychological categories. By relying on a non-developmental framework these models fail to capture the central connection between simulation and theory. I propose a “dynamic” hybrid that is informed by recent work on the nature of similarity cognition. I claim that Gentner’s model (...) of structure-mapping allows us to understand simulation as a process in which psychological representations are aligned, causing the spontaneous abstraction of theoretical generalizations about the psychological domain. (shrink)
Simulation as an epistemic tool between theory and practice: A Comparison of the Relationship between Theory and Simulation in Science and in Folk Psychology In this paper I explore the concept of simulation that is employed by proponents of the so-called simulationtheory within the debate about the nature and scientific status of folk psychology. According to simulationtheory, folk psychology is not a sort of theory that postulates theoretical entities (...) (mental states and processes) and general laws, but a practice whereby we put ourselves into others’ shoes and simulate their situation from our own perspective. On the basis of this sort of simulation, we supposedly know how we would act or think or feel, and then expect the same of others. A closer look at the concept of simulation reveals some problems with this view, but also helps to clarify the insight motivating simulationtheory. Specifically, I defend the thesis that the analogy to simulations in science shows us how theoretical elements in folk psychology can be complemented by (i.e. not replaced by) the central idea of simulationtheory – namely that our own cognitive habits and dispositions provide us with a resource that is distinct from propositional knowledge in folk psychology. I also discuss the idea that our use of simulations during cognitive development enables us to imitate the people around us and thereby to become more similar to them, which in turn makes simulation an increasingly effective epistemic strategy. Insofar as theoretical elements – such as the distinctions, relations, and entities referred to in folk psychological discourse – play a role in imitative learning, they are causally embedded in our cognitive development, so we have good reason to regard them as being among the real causes of our behavior. (shrink)
I will present a conceptual argument for a simulationist answer to (2). Given that our conception of mental states is employed in attributing mental states to others, a simulationist answer to (2) supports a simulationist answer to (1). I will not address question (3). Answers to (1) and (2) do not yield an answer to (3), since (1) and (2) concern only our actual practices and concepts. For instance, an error theory about (1) and (2) would say that our (...) practices and concepts manifest a mistaken view about the real nature of the mental. Finally, I will not address question (2a), which is an empirical question and so is not immediately relevant to the conceptual argument that is of concern here. (shrink)
This paper contributes to an ongoing debate regarding the cognitive processes involved when one person predicts a target person's behavior and/or attributes a mental state to that target person. According to simulationtheory, a person typically performs these tasks by employing some part of her brain as a simulation of what is going on in a corresponding part of the brain of the target person. I propose a general intuitive analysis of what 'simulation' means. Simulation (...) is a particular way of using one process to acquire knowledge about another process. What distinguishes simulation from other ways of acquiring knowledge is that simulation requires, for its non-accidental success, that the simulating process reflect significant aspects of the simulated process. This conceptual work is of independent philosophical interest, but it also enables me to argue for two conclusions that are of great significance to the debate about mental simulationtheory. First, I argue that, in order to stake a non-trivial claim, simulationtheory must hold that mental simulation involves what I call concretely similar processes. Second, I argue for the surprising conclusion that a significant class of cases that simulation theorists have claimed as intuitive cases of simulation do not actually involve simulation, after all. I close by sketching an alternative account that might handle these problematic cases. (shrink)
The theory-theory claims that the explanation and prediction of behavior works via the application of a theory, while the simulationtheory 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. (shrink)
Stich and Ravenscroft (1994) distinguish between internal and external accounts of folk psychology and argue that this distinction makes a significant difference to the debate over eliminative materialism. I argue that their views about the implications of the internal/external distinction for the debate over eliminativism are mistaken. First, I demonstrate that the first of their two external versions of folk psychology is either not a possible target of eliminativist critique, or not a target distinct from their second version of externalism. (...) Second, I show that whether or not the second of their two external version of folk psychology is open to eliminativist critique depends on ‘internal’ factors. Finally, I argue that they are wrong to claim that eliminativists might, by attacking external versions of folk psychology, escape being put out of business if the simulationtheory is correct. (shrink)
What is the simulationtheory? Arguments for simulationtheorySimulationtheory versus theorytheorySimulationtheory and cognitive science Versions of simulationtheory A possible test of the simulationtheory.
Both macaque monkeys and humans have been shown to have what are called ‘mirror neurons’, a class of neurons that respond to goal-related motor-actions, both when these actions are performed by the subject and when they are performed by another individual observed by the subject. Gallese and Goldman (1998) contend that mirror neurons may be seen as ‘a part of, or a precursor to, a more general mind- reading ability’, and that of the two competing theories of mind-reading, mirror neurons (...) lend support to simulationtheory. I here offer four reasons why I think mirror neurons do not provide support for simulationtheory over its contender, theorytheory. (shrink)
Mental simulation is the simulation, replication or re-enactment, usually in imagination, of the thinking, decision-making, emotional responses, or other aspects of the mental life of another person. According to simulationtheory, mental simulation in imagination plays a key role in our everyday psychological understanding of other people. The same mental resources that are used in our own thinking, decision-making or emotional responses are redeployed in imagination to provide an understanding of the thoughts, decisions or emotions (...) of another. (shrink)
What exactly do we do when we try to make sense of other people e.g. by ascribing mental states like beliefs and desires to them? After a short criticism of Theory-Theory, Interaction Theory and the Narrative Theory of understanding others as well as an extended criticism of the SimulationTheory in Goldman's recent version (2006), we suggest an alternative approach: the Person Model Theory . Person models are the basis for our ability to (...) register and evaluate persons having mental as well as physical properties. We argue that there are two kinds of person models, nonconceptual person schemata and conceptual person images , and both types of models can be developed for individuals as well as for groups. (shrink)
The simulationtheory is an account of our everyday ability to attribute mental states and predict and explain human behavior. It has been developed both as an empirical hypothesis in cognitive science and as an account of mental concepts in the philosophy of mind.
The evolutionary theory of threat simulation during dreaming indicates that themes appropriate to ancestral survival concerns (threats) should be disproportionately represented in dreams. Our studies of typical dream themes in students and sleep-disordered patients indicate that threatening dreams involving chase and pursuit are indeed among the three most prevalent themes, thus supporting Revonsuo's theory. However, many of the most prevalent themes are of positive, not negative, events (e.g., sex, flying) and of current, not ancestral, threat scenarios (e.g., (...) schoolwork). Moreover, many clearly ancestral themes (e.g., snakes, earthquakes) are not prevalent at all in dreams. Thus, these findings challenge the specificity of the threat simulationtheory. [Revonsuo]. (shrink)
Stich & Ravenscroft (1994) have argued that (contrary to most people's initial assumptions) a simulation account of folk psychology may be consistent with eliminative materialism, but they fail to bring out the full complexity or the potential significance of the relationship. Contemporary eliminativism (particularly in the Churchland version) makes two major claims: the first is a rejection of the orthodox assumption that realistically construed propositional attitudes are fundamental to human cognition; the second is the suggestion that with the advancement (...) of scientific understanding of the mind it will be possible to entirely eliminate the mentalistic and intentional from our ontology, thus dissolving the mind-body problem. The first claim (which has been argued in detail) supplies the principal grounds for accepting the second, much more ambitious and significant, claim. Robert Gordon's (1995, 1996, 2000) radical simulationtheory of "folk psychology", proposed initially (Gordon, 1986) as an alternative to "theorytheory" accounts of self and interpersonal understanding, but subsequently developing into a quite general challenge to symbolic computational accounts of mind, is not merely consistent with, but actually provides considerable additional support for, the first eliminativist claim. However, although radical simulationism has no use for reified propositional attitudes, it relies on another family of mentalistic and intentional notions, including perspective taking, "seeing as", pretending, imagery, and, most centrally, imagination. It is thus inconsistent with eliminativist metaphysical ambitions. Nevertheless, from this perspective the mind-body problem is transformed. Its solution no longer depends on accounting directly for the intentionality of the attitudes, but rather on accounting for the intentionality of imagination. Although standard accounts of imagination derive its intentionality from that of the attitudes, the recently proposed "perceptual activity" theory of imagery and imagination (Thomas, 1999) can provide a direct account of the intentionality of imagination that is consistent with physicalism.. (shrink)
Revised simulationtheory (Goldman 2006) allows mental state attributions containing some or all of the attributor’s genuine, non-simulated mental states. It is thought that this gives the revised theory an empirical advantage, because unlike theorytheory and rationality theory, it can explain egocentric bias (the tendency to over attribute ones’ own mental states to others). I challenge this view, arguing that theorytheory and rationality theory can explain egocentricity by appealing to (...) heuristic mindreading and the diagnosticity of attributors’ own beliefs, and that these explanations are as simple and consistent as those provided by revised simulationtheory. (shrink)
In this article we take issue with theorytheory and simulationtheory accounts of folk psychology committed to (i) the belief-desire (BD) model and (ii) the assumption of universality (AU). Recent studies cast doubt on the compatibility of these commitments because they reveal considerable cross-cultural differences in folk psychologies. We present both theorytheory and simulationtheory with the following dilemma: either (i) keep the BD-model as an account of the surface properties (...) of specific explicit folk psychologies and give up AU in light of the cross-cultural evidence; or (ii) defend AU with respect to core capacities underlying different culture-specific folk psychologies, and explain why the BD-model will be genuinely explanatory at this level. (shrink)
Theory theorists conceive of social cognition as a theoretical and observational enterprise rather than a practical and interactive one. According to them, we do our best to explain other people's actions and mental experience by appealing to folk psychology as a kind of rule book that serves to guide our observations through our puzzling encounters with others. Seemingly, for them, most of our encounters count as puzzling, and other people are always in need of explanation. By contrast, simulation (...) theorists do their best to avoid the theoretical stance by using their own experience as the measure of everyone else's. When it comes to explaining how we understand other people some of the very best contemporary philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists are simulationists. For example, Vittorio Gallese, Alvin Goldman, Robert Gordon, Jane Heal, Susan Hurley, and Marc Jeannerod. This short list of simulationists, however, already involves some problems. Not everyone on this list understands simulation in the same way. In effect, there are different simulation theories, and although it is important to distinguish them, and I will do so before I go much further, I will in the end argue against all of them. For several reasons I don't think that the concept of simulation explains our primary and pervasive way of understanding others, any more than theorytheory does. (shrink)
This paper examines the causal basis of our ability to attribute emotions to music, developing and synthesizing the existing arousal, resemblance and persona theories of musical expressivity to do so. The principal claim is that music hijacks the simulation mechanism of the brain, a mechanism which has evolved to detect one's own and other people's emotions.
Recent philosophical discussions of our capacity to attribute mental states to other human beings, and to produce accurate predictions and informative explanations of their behavior which make reference to the content of those states have focused on two apparently contrasting ways in which we might hope to account for these abilities. The first is that of regarding our competence as being under-girded by our grasp of a tacit psychological theory. The second builds on the idea that in trying to (...) get a grip on the mental lives of others we might be able to draw on the fact that we are ourselves subjects of mental states in order to simulate their mental processes. Call these the theory view and the simulation view. In this paper I wish to discuss an argument—which I shall call Collapse—to the effect that if our capacities can be explained in the way that the simulationist supposes then they can also be explained along lines that the advocate of the theory view favours. I am not the first person with simulationist sympathies to have addressed this argument. However, my response is somewhat less concessive than others in the literature: while they attempt to soften its force by attempting to reformulate the simulationist view in a way that evades the conclusion of the argument, I attempt to meet it head on and to show that it does not even succeed in refuting the version of simulationism which it takes as its target. (shrink)
It seems that in interpreting others we sometimes simulate, sometimes apply theory. Josef Perner has suggested that a fruitful line of inquiry in folk psychology would seek "criteria for problems where we have to use simulation from those where we do without or where it is even impossible to use." In this paper I follow Perner with a suggestion that our understanding of our interpretive processes may benefit from considering their physiological bases. In particular, I claim that it (...) may be useful to consider the role emotion plays in the respective interpretive processes. I give reasons for believing that affective processes are more heavily involved in simulation (especially in situations of practical judgment and practical reasoning) than in theory-application. But affective processes have distinctive neurological and metabolic properties. These distinctive features of emotion may not only enrich our understanding of the simulation process, but also afford us a step towards responding to Perner's challenge. (shrink)
Mirror neurons and systems are often appealed to as mechanisms enabling mindreading, i.e., understanding other people’s mental states. Such neural mirroring processes are often treated as instances of mental simulation rather than folk psychological theorizing. I will call into question this assumed connection between mirroring and simulation, arguing that mirroring does not necessarily constitute mental simulation as specified by the simulationtheory of mindreading. I begin by more precisely characterizing “mirroring” (Sect. 2) and “simulation” (...) (Sect. 3). Mirroring results in a neural process in an observer that resembles a neural process of the same type in the observed agent. Although simulation is often characterized in terms of resemblance (Goldman, Simulating minds: The philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience of mindreading, 2006), I argue that simulation requires more than mere interpersonal mental resemblance: A simulation must have the purpose or function of resembling its target (Sect. 3.1). Given that mirroring processes are generated automatically, I focus on what is required for a simulation to possess the function of resembling its target. In Sect. 3.2 I argue that this resemblance function, at least in the case of simulation-based mindreading, requires that a simulation serve as a representation or stand-in of what it resembles. With this revised account of simulation in hand, in Sect. 4 I show that the mirroring processes do not necessarily possess the representational function required of simulation. To do so I describe an account of goal attribution involving a motor mirroring process that should not be characterized as interpersonal mental simulation. I end in Sect. 5 by defending the conceptual distinction between mirroring and simulation, and discussing the implications of this argument for the kind of neuroscientific evidence required by simulationtheory. (shrink)
Mindreading is the ability to attribute mental states to other individuals. According to the Theory-Theory (TT), mindreading is based on one's possession of a Theory of Mind. On the other hand, the SimulationTheory (ST) maintains that one arrives at the attribution of a mental state by simulating it in one's own mind. In this paper, I propose a ST-TT hybrid model of the ability to attribute disgust on the basis of visual stimuli such as (...) facial expressions, body postures, etc. More precisely, while I defend Goldman's (2006) thesis that the ability to attribute disgust based on observing disgusted facial expressions stems from a mirror-based simulation process, I argue that ST is unable to account for the ability to attribute disgust based on non-facial visual stimuli; I propose, rather, that this latter ability is theory-based. My model is grounded in evidence from individuals suffering from Huntington's Disease. (shrink)
According to the theorytheory of folk psychology, our engagement in the folk psychological practices of prediction, interpretation and explanation draws on a rich body of knowledge about psychological matters. According to the simulationtheory, in apparent contrast, a fundamental role is played by our ability to identify with another person in imagination and to replicate or re-enact aspects of the other person’s mental life. But amongst theory theorists, and amongst simulation theorists, there are (...) significant differences of approach. (shrink)
The essays in this volume make it abundantly clear that there is no shortage of disagreement about the plausibility of the simulationtheory. As we see it, there are at least three factors contributing to this disagreement. In some instances the issues in dispute are broadly empirical. Different people have different views on which theory is favored by experiments reported in the literature, and different hunches about how future experiments are likely to turn out. In 3.1 and (...) 3.3 we will consider two cases that fall under this heading. With a bit of luck these disputes will be resolved as more experiments are done and more data become available. Faulty arguments are a second source of disagreement. In 3.2 and 3.4 we will set out two dubious arguments advanced by our critics and try to explain exactly why we think they are mistaken. The third source of disagreement is terminological. Terms like "theory-theory," "simulationtheory" and a number of others are often not clearly defined, and they are used in different ways by different authors. (Worse yet, we suspect they are sometimes used in different ways by a single author on different occasions). Thus it is sometimes the case that what appears to be a substantive disagreement turns out to be simply a verbal dispute. Moreover, since the labels "theory-theory" and "simulationtheory" are each used to characterize a broad range of theories, it may well turn out that some of the theories falling under both headings are correct. In Sections 1 and 2, we will set out a variety of different views for which the labels "theory-theory" and "simulationtheory" might be used. As we proceed we'll point out a number of places where disagreements diminish when distinctions among different versions of the theory-theory and the simulationtheory are kept clearly in mind. (shrink)
We contribute to the empirical debate on whether we understand and predict mental states by using simulation (simulationtheory) or by relying on a folk psychological theory (theorytheory). To decide between these two fundamental positions, it has been argued that failure to predict other people's choices would be challenging evidence against the simulation view. We test the specific claim that people prefer the rightmost position in choosing among equally valued objects, and whether (...) or not this position bias can be correctly predicted. A series of experiments shows that the bias appears only in a specific spatial arrangement and that it can be correctly predicted given adequate imaginative input. In concert with other recent findings on the correct prediction of choices these findings do actually strengthen, rather than challenge, the simulation account on the prediction of mental states. (shrink)
In his sociological works Pareto developed a theory of cyclical social change within the general equilibrium framework. Building on an earlier propositional formalization, we translate Pareto's theory into a series of simultaneous equations and simulate the equation system. The dynamic behavior of the simulation is consistent with Pareto's predictions and demonstrates the internal logic of the theory.
This paper spells out just how the Narrative Practice Hypothesis, if true, undercuts any need to appeal to either theory or simulation when it comes to explaining the basis of folk psychological understanding: these heuristics do not come into play other than in cases of in which the framework is used to speculate about why another may have acted. To add appropriate force to this observation, I first say something about why we should reject the widely held assumption (...) that the primary business of folk psychology is to provide third-personal predictions and explanations. I then go on to demonstrate how the NPH can account for (i) the structural features of folk psychology and (ii) its staged acquisition without buying into the idea that it is a theory, or that it is acquired by means of constructing one. This should expose the impotence of the standard reasons for believing that folk psychology must be a kind of theory. In the concluding postscript, I acknowledge that we need more than the folk psychological framework to understand how we understand reasons, but I deny that this something more takes the form of a theory about propositional attitudes or simulative procedures for manipulating them. For example, I claim it rests in part on a capacity for co-cognition, inter alia, since that ability is necessary for understanding another’s thoughts. Nevertheless, I deny that co-cognition equates to simulation proper or that it plays anything more than a supporting role in understanding reasons for action. (shrink)
We introduce a particular way of drawing the distinction between the use of theory and simulation in the prediction of people's decisions and describe an empirical method to test whether theory or simulation is used in a particular case. We demonstrate this method with two effects of decision making involving the choice between a safe option (take amount X) and a risky option (take double the amount X with probability 1/2). People's predictions of choice frequencies for (...) trivial (â¬ 0.75) as opposed to substantial (â¬ 18) amounts in Experiment 1 are quite accurate when they are presented with both conditions juxtaposed but are less accurate when only given one of the conditions. This result is interpreted to speak for the use of theory in prediction. In contrast people's predictions of the framing effect for substantial amounts (more risk seeking for positively than negatively framed problems) are accurate only for independent predictions but not for juxtaposed predictions, which speaks for the use of simulation. (shrink)
This paper is concerned. with the contrast between simulation- and deduction-based approaches to reasoning about physical objects. We show that linear logic can give a unified account of both simulation and deduction concerning physical objects; it also allows us to draw a principled distinction between simulation and deduction, since simulations correspond to cut-free proofs, whereas deductions correspond to proofs in general.
Theory of mind explanations of how we know other minds are limited in several ways. First, they construe intersubjective relations too narrowly in terms of the specialized cognitive abilities of explaining and predicting another person's mental states and behaviors. Second, they sometimes draw conclusions about secondperson interaction from experiments designed to test third-person observation of another's behavior. As a result, the larger claims that are sometimes made for theory of mind, namely, that theory of mind is our (...) primary and pervasive means for understanding other persons, go beyond both the phenomenological and the scientific evidence. I argue that the interpretation of "primary intersubjectivity" as merely precursory to theory of mind is inadequate. Rather, primary intersubjectivity, understood as a set of embodied practices and capabilities, is not only primary in a developmental sense, but is the primary way we continue to understand others in second-person interactions. (shrink)
After providing a brief overview of social neuroscience in the context of strong embodiment and the cognitive sciences, this paper addresses how perspectives from the field may inform how theological anthropology approaches the origins of human persons-in-community. An overview of the Social Brain Hypothesis and of simulationtheory reveals a simultaneous potential for receptive/projective processes to facilitate social engagement and the need for intentional spontaneity in the form of a spiritual formation that moves beyond simulation to empathy (...) and love. Finally, elements of a virtue science that draws on Dietrich Bonhoeffer's relational imago Dei are shown to be helpful in framing and motivating theological approaches to human origins. (shrink)
A central goal of contemporary cognitive science is the explanation of cognitive abilities or capacities. [Cummins 1983] During the last three decades a wide range of cognitive capacities have been subjected to careful empirical scrutiny. The adult's ability to produce and comprehend natural language sentences and the child's capacity to acquire a natural language were among the first to be explored. [Chomsky 1965, Fodor, Bever & Garrett 1974, Pinker 1989] There is also a rich literature on the ability to solve (...) mathematical problems [Greeno 1983], the ability to recognize objects visually [Rock 1983, Gregory 1970, Marr 1982], the ability to manipulate and predict the behavior of middle sized physical objects [McClosky 1983, Hayes 1985], and a host of others. (shrink)
Ask nearly any analytic philosopher of mind how we understand intentional actions performed for reasons and you are bound to be told that we do so by deploying mental concepts, such as beliefs and desires, in systematic ways. This way of making sense of actions is known as commonsense or folk psychology (or CSP or FP for short). There have been many interesting debates about CSP over the years. These have focused on questions including: How fundamental and universal is this (...) practice? Which species engage in it? What mechanisms underwrite the competence? How is the ability acquired? And, what exactly is its status (e.g. is it a kind of theory or simulative ability? If it's a theory, is it a good theory, etc.)? Philosophers divide in their responses to such questions, but practically all of them agree that CSP is at least a prominent and important part of our everyday understanding and that it grounds at least some very important social practices. (shrink)
In this chapter I attempt to curb the pretensions of simulationism. I argue that it is, at best, an epistemological doctrine of limited scope. It may explain how we go about attributing beliefs and desires to others, and perhaps to ourselves, in some cases. But simulation cannot provide the fundamental basis of our conception of, or knowledge of, minded agency.
: Understanding Helmholtz's philosophy of science requires attention to his experimental practice. I sketch out such a project by showing how experiment shapes his theory of perception in three ways. One, the theory emerged out of empirical and experimental research. Two, the concept of experiment fills a critical conceptual gap in his theory of perception. Experiment functions not merely as a scientific technique, but also as a general epistemological strategy. Three, Helmholtz's experimental practice provides essential clues to (...) the interpretation of his theory of perception. A case study from experimental investigation of hearing shows how he designed such studies in accordance with the epistemological commitments of the theory of perception. Yet, while the theory was important to his experiments, the soundness of the experimental strategy was epistemically independent of those commitments. Secondly, the case study illustrates how Helmholtz consistently held that causal inferences underwrite reference to a real, but indirectly experienced external world. (shrink)
The human ability to represent, conceptualize, and reason about mind and behavior is one of the greatest achievements of human evolution and is made possible by a “folk theory of mind” — a sophisticated conceptual framework that relates different mental states to each other and connects them to behavior. This chapter examines the nature and elements of this framework and its central functions for social cognition. As a conceptual framework, the folk theory of mind operates prior to any (...) particular conscious or unconscious cognition and provides the “framing” or interpretation of that cognition. Central to this framing is the concept of intentionality, which distinguishes intentional action (caused by the agent’s intention and decision) from unintentional behavior (caused by internal or external events without the intervention of the agent’s decision). A second important distinction separates publicly observable from publicly unobservable (i.e., mental) events. Together, the two distinctions define the kinds of events in social interaction that people attend to, wonder about, and try to explain. A special focus of this chapter is the powerful tool of behavior explanation, which relies on the folk theory of mind but is also intimately tied to social demands and to the perceiver’s social goals. A full understanding of social cognition must consider the folk theory of mind as the conceptual underpinning of all (conscious and unconscious) perception and thinking about the social world. (shrink)
Recent research in the cognitive science of religion suggests that humans intuitively believe that others survive death. In response to this finding, three cognitive theories have been offered to explain this: the simulation constraint theory (Bering, 2002); the imaginative obstacle theory (Nichols, 2007); and terror management theory (Pyszczynski, Rothschild, & Abdollahi, 2008). First, I provide a critical analysis of each of these theories. Second, I argue that these theories, while perhaps explaining why one would believe in (...) his own personal immortality, leave an explanatory gap in that they do not explain why one would intuitively attribute survival of death to others. To fill in the gap, I offer a cognitive theory based on offline social reasoning and social embodiment which provides for the belief in an eternal social realm in which the deceased survive—the afterlife. (shrink)
We present a model for studying communities of epistemically interacting agents who update their belief states by averaging (in a specified way) the belief states of other agents in the community. The agents in our model have a rich belief state, involving multiple independent issues which are interrelated in such a way that they form a theory of the world. Our main goal is to calculate the probability for an agent to end up in an inconsistent belief state due (...) to updating (in the given way). To that end, an analytical expression is given and evaluated numerically, both exactly and using statistical sampling. It is shown that, under the assumptions of our model, an agent always has a probability of less than 2% of ending up in an inconsistent belief state. Moreover, this probability can be made arbitrarily small by increasing the number of independent issues the agents have to judge or by increasing the group size. A real-world situation to which this model applies is a group of experts participating in a Delphi-study. (shrink)
An argument is developed that supports a simulationist account about the foundations of infants' and young children's understanding that other people have mental states. This argument relies on evidence that infants come to the world with capacities to send and receive affective cues and to appreciate the emotional states of others – capacities well suited to a social environment initially made up of frequent and extended emotional interactions with their caregivers. The central premise of the argument is that the foundation (...) of infants' understanding of other minds is built upon an early-developing capacity to share others' emotion experiences. The emotion experiences elicited in interactions between caregivers and infants enable the elaboration of this primitive understanding into a more fully developed understanding of psychological subjects. The evidence presented in support of these claims derives from a wide range of studies of the phenomena of emotional contagion, affective communication, and emotion regulation involving infants, young children, and adults. (shrink)
This book proposes a series of interconnected arguments against the view that interpersonal understanding involves the use of a 'folk' or 'commonsense' psychology. Ratcliffe suggests that folk psychology, construed as the attribution of internal mental states in order to predict and explain behaviour, is a theoretically motivated and misleading abstraction from social life. He draws on phenomenology, neuroscience and developmental psychology to offer an alternative account that emphasizes patterned interactions between people in shared social situations.
Introduction -- Sanctioning models : theories and their scope -- Methodology for a virtual world -- A tale of two methods -- When theories shake hands -- Models of climate : values and uncertainties -- Reliability without truth -- Conclusion.
This essay adjudicates between theoretical models of psychological concept acquisition. I provide new reasons to be skeptical about both simulationist and modularist models. I then defend the scientific-theory-theory account against familiar objections. I conclude by arguing that the scientific-theory-theory account must be supplemented by an account of hypothesis discovery.
During the past decade, social mechanisms and mechanism-based ex- planations have received considerable attention in the social sciences as well as in the philosophy of science. This article critically reviews the most important philosophical and social science contributions to the mechanism approach. The first part discusses the idea of mechanism- based explanation from the point of view of philosophy of science and relates it to causation and to the covering-law account of explanation. The second part focuses on how the idea (...) of mechanisms has been used in the social sciences. The final part discusses recent developments in analytical sociology, covering the nature of sociological explananda, the role of theory of action in mechanism-based explanations, Merton’s idea of middle-range theory, and the role of agent-based simulations in the development of mechanism-based explanations. (shrink)
In a series of recent papers, Jane Heal (1994, 1995a, 1995b, 1996a, 1996b) has developed her own quite distinctive version of simulationtheory and offered a detailed critique of the arguments against simulationtheory that we and our collaborators presented in earlier papers. Heal's theory is clearly set out and carefully defended, and her critique of our arguments is constructive and well informed. Unlike a fair amount of what has been written in this area in (...) recent years, her work is refreshingly free of obscurity; it generates more light than heat. While we have many disagreements with Heal, we also find much that we can agree with and learn from. In this paper we hope to advance the discussion by saying where we agree and how we think we can build on that agreement. We'll also explain where we disagree and why. (shrink)
While there is a great diversity of treatments of other minds and inter-subjectivity within both analytic and continental philosophy, this article specifies some of the core structural differences between these treatments. Although there is no canonical account of the problem of other minds that can be baldly stated and that is exhaustive of both traditions, the problem(s) of other minds can be loosely defined in family resemblances terms. It seems to have: (1) an epistemological dimension (How do we know that (...) others exist? Can we justifiably claim to know that they do?); (2) an ontological dimension that incorporates issues having to do with personal identity (What is the structure of our world such that inter-subjectivity is possible? What are the fundamental aspects of our relations to others? How do they impact upon our self-identity?); and (3) A conceptual dimension in that it depends on one's answer to the question what is a mind (How does the mind – or the concept of 'mind'– relate to the brain, the body and the world?). While these three issues are co-imbricated, I will claim that analytic engagements with the problem of other minds focus on (1), whereas continental philosophers focus far more on (2). In addition, this article will also point to various other downstream consequences of this, including the preoccupation with embodiment and forms of expressivism that feature heavily in various forms of continental philosophy, and which generally aim to ground our relations with others in a pre-reflective manner of inhabiting the world that is said to be the condition of reflection and knowledge. (shrink)
This essay explains the prevalence of porn consumption by modeling it as a form of simulation. According to simulationtheory (Gordon 1986, Goldman 2006) people predict and explain other’s behavior by using their own mind to model the mind of a target individual, much like an engineer might use a model aircraft to simulate the behavior of an actual aircraft. However, the cognitive mechanisms required for simulation have application outside of psychological interpretation. For example, it is (...) plausible that while consuming pornography individuals simulate the actual activities as depicted by the pornographic material. On this construal, viewers of pornography think and feel as though they are truly having the depicted experience: from the psychological and phenomenological perceptive of someone watching a pornographic video, they really are being sexually pleasured by others, and in just those specific ways. The goal of this essay is to develop the pornography-as-simulation model and examine both its social and theoretical implications. (shrink)
According to embodied cognition, the philosophical and empirical literature on theory of mind is misguided. Embodied cognition rejects the idea that social cognition requires theory of mind. It regards the intramural debate between the TheoryTheory and the SimulationTheory as irrelevant, and it dismisses the empirical studies on theory of mind as ill conceived and misleading. Embodied cognition provides a novel deflationary account of social cognition that does not depend on theory (...) of mind. In this chapter, l describe embodied cognition’s alternative to theory of mind and discuss three challenges it faces. (shrink)
This is a truly groundbreaking work that examines today’s notions of folk psychology. Bringing together disciplines as various as cognitive science and anthropology, the authors analyze and question key assumptions about the nature, scope and function of folk psychology.
Simulation has emerged as an increasingly popular account of folk psychological (FP) talents at mind-reading: predicting and explaining human mental states. Where its rival (the theory-theory) postulates that these abilities are explained by mastery of laws describing the connections between beliefs, desires, and action, simulationtheory proposes that we mind-read by "putting ourselves in another's shoes." This paper concerns connectionist architecture and the debate between simulationtheory (ST) and the theory-theory (TT). (...) It is only natural to associate TT with classical architectures where rule governed operations apply to explicit propositional representations. On the other hand, ST would seem better tuned to procedurally oriented non-symbolic structures found in connectionist models. This paper explores the possible alignment between ST and connectionist architecture. Joe Cruz argues that connectionist models with distributed non-symbolic representations are particularly well suited to simulationtheory. The purported linkage between connectionist architecture and simulationtheory is criticized in this paper. The conclusion is that there are reasons for thinking that connectionist forms of representation are the enemy of both TT and ST. So the contribution of connectionism may be to suggest the need for an alternative to both views. (shrink)
In this paper, I hope to show how a recent theory in the philosophy of mind concerning how we ‘read’ the minds of others – namely, Heal’s version of simulationtheory – is consistent with the view that the kind of understanding we bring to bear on the irrational is different in kind from the way we understand one another in the course of everyday life. I shall attempt to show that Heal’s version of simulation (...) class='Hi'>theory (co-cognition) is to be favoured over its rival ‘theory theories’ in the light of its accommodation of deeply irrational mental states. I claim that simulationtheory preserves an asymmetry of psychological explanation which is not similarly preserved by a theorytheory account, and I argue that this preservation of asymmetry is an advantage of Heal’s account. (shrink)
A computer simulation runs a model generating a phenomenon under investigation. For the simulation to be explanatory, the model has to be explanatory. The model must be isomorphic to the natural system that realizes the phenomenon. This paper elaborates the method of assessing a simulation's explanatory power. Then it illustrates the method by applying it to two simulations in game theory. The first is Brian Skyrms's (1990) simulation of interactive deliberations. It is intended to explain (...) the emergence of a Nash equilibrium in a noncooperative game. The second is Skyrms's (2004) simulation of the evolution of cooperation. It is intended to explain cooperation in assurance games. The final section suggests ways of enhancing the explanatory power of these simulations. (shrink)
Some researchers claim that simulations of the emergence of communication in populations of autonomous agents provide empirical support for 'use' theories of meaning. I argue that this claim faces at least two major challenges. First, the empirical adequacy of such simulations must be justified, or the inference from simulation results to real-world linguistic behavior must be dropped; and second, the proffered simulations are in fact compatible with all of the competing theories of meaning surveyed, suggesting that theories of meaning (...) are not the kinds of theories for which simulations provide evidence. To conclude, I consider what impact this has on the project of developing a naturalized theory of language. (shrink)
I do not consider these objections to be able to dislodge my arguments for the epistemic centrality of empathy for understanding agency, since the empathy view is not in fact committed to an implausible Cartesian view of the mind. But I do ...
Despite efforts from regulatory agencies (e.g. NIH, FDA), recent systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) show that top medical journals continue to publish trials without requiring authors to report details for readers to evaluate early stopping decisions carefully. This article presents a systematic way of modelling and simulating interim monitoring decisions of RCTs. By taking an approach that is both general and rigorous, the proposed framework models and evaluates early stopping decisions of RCTs based on a clear and consistent (...) set of criteria. The framework allows decision analysts to generate and quickly answer ‘what-if’ questions by simulating alternate trial scenarios. I illustrate the framework with a case study of an RCT that was stopped early due to harm. This was a trial of vitamin A supplement in relation to HIV transmission from mother-to-child through breastfeeding. (shrink)