In this paper it is argued that we would not be logically obliged or rationally inclined to reject the ontology of contentful psychological states postulated by folkpsychology even if the explanations advanced by folkpsychology turned out to be generally inaccurate or inadequate. Moreover, it is argued that eliminativists such as Paul Churchland do not establish that folk psychological explanations are, or are likely to prove, generally inaccurate or inadequate. Most of Churchland's arguments—based upon (...) developments within connectionist neuroscience—only cast doubt upon the adequacy of 'sentential' theories of cognitive processing, not upon scientifically developed forms of folk psychological explanation of behavior, such as those offered by contemporary social psychology. Finally, it is noted that Churchland's brand of eliminativism rests upon a crude reductive criterion of theoretical adequacy that has little to recommend it, and suggested that the recognized theoretical limitations of contemporary social psychology may be precisely due to its historical commitment to this reductive criterion. (shrink)
This article describes two uses of folkpsychology in scientific psychology. Use 1 deals with the way in which folk theories and beliefs are imported into social psychological models on the basis that they exert causal influences on cognition or behavior (regardless of their validity or scientific usefulness). Use 2 describes the practice of mining elements from folkpsychology for building an overarching psychological theory that goes beyond common sense (and assumes such elements are (...) valid or scientifically useful). This distinction is then applied to both common practices within psychology and the philosophical arguments concerning the scientific validity of folkpsychology. Adopting a social psychological perspective, I argue that (a) the two uses are often conflated in psychology with deleterious consequences; and (b) that the arguments for the elimination of folkpsychology as a basis for scientific psychology presented by Churchland and others, are weakened by the failure to attend to this distinction. (shrink)
Abstract Ramsey, Stick and Garon (1991) argue that if the correct theory of mind is some parallel distributed processing theory, then folkpsychology must be false. Their idea is that if the nodes and connections that encode one representation are causally active then all representations encoded by the same set of nodes and connections are also causally active. We present a clear, and concrete, counterexample to RSG's argument. In conclusion, we suggest that folkpsychology and connectionism (...) are best understood as complementary theories. Each has different limitations, yet each will co?evolve with the other in an overlapping domain of ?normal? psychology. (shrink)
Daniel Dennett (1991) has advanced a mild realism in which beliefs are described as patterns “discernible in agents' (observable) behavior” (p. 30). I clarify the conflict between this otherwise attractive theory and the strong realist view that beliefs are internal states that cause actions. Support for strong realism is sometimes derived from the assumption that the everyday psychology of the folk is committed to it. My main thesis here is that we have sufficient reason neither for strong realism (...) nor for the supporting assumption about the commitments of folkpsychology. Several generally implicit arguments in support of the latter assumption are considered. Explicit arguments for it by Ramsey et al. (1990) and Wellman (1990) are examined and judged unsuccessful. An explicit argument for strong realism by Cummins (in conversation) is also found inadequate. Consideration of this latter argument helps to explain why we cannot be satisfied with Dennett's own very brief discussion of causation by beliefs. (shrink)
It has often been argued, by philosophers and more recently by developmental psychologists, that our common-sense conception of the mind should be regarded as a scientific theory. However, those who advance this view rarely say much about what they take a scientific theory to be. In this paper, I look at one specific proposal as to how we should interpret the theory view of folkpsychology--namely, by seeing it as having a structure analogous to that of a Lakatosian (...) research program. I argue that although the Lakatosian model may seem promising--particularly to those who are interested in studying the development of children's understanding of the mind--the analogy between Lakatosian research programs and folkpsychology cannot be made good because folkpsychology does not possess anything analogous to the positive heuristic of a Lakatosian research program. I also argue that Lakatos' account of theories may not be the best one for developmental psychologists to adopt because of the emphasis which Lakatos places on the social embeddedness of scientific theorising. (shrink)
In this paper I examine the analogical argument that the use that is made of propositions in folkpsychology in the characterisation of propositional attitudes is no more puzzling than the use that is made of numbers in the physical sciences in the measurement of physical properties. It has been argued that the result of this analogy is that there is no need to postulate the existence of sentences in a language of thought which underpin the propositional characterisation (...) of propositional attitudes in order to provide a naturalistic account of their use. I argue that a closer examination of the analogy implies rather than avoids the existence of structured representations constituting a language of thought, and thus that it should be abandoned by those who wish to avoid the postulation of such internal representations. (shrink)
Even as the neuro-psychoanalytic field has matured, the epistemological status of Freudian interpretations still remains problematic. As a result of the resurgence of hermeneutics, the claim has been made that psychoanalysis is an extension of folkpsychology. For these “extensionists”, asking psychoanalysis to prove its interpretations would be as absurd as demanding the proofs of the scientific accuracy of folkpsychology. I propose to show how Dennett’s theory of the intentional stance allows us to defend an (...) extensionist position while sparing us certain hermeneutic difficulties. In conclusion, I will consider how Shevrin experiments could turn extensionist conceptual considerations into experimentally testable issues. (shrink)
It is widely believed that the primary function of folkpsychology lies in the prediction, explanation and control of behavior. A question arises, however, as to whether folkpsychology has also been shaped in fundamental ways by the various other roles it plays in people’s lives. Here I approach that question by considering one particular aspect of folkpsychology – the distinction between intentional and unintentional behaviors. The aim is to determine whether this distinction (...) is best understood as a tool used in prediction, explanation and control or whether it has been shaped in fundamental ways by some other aspect of its use. (shrink)
I argue that everyday folk-psychological skill might best be explained in terms of the deployment of something like a model, in a specific sense drawn from recent philosophy of science. Theoretical models in this sense do not make definite commitments about the systems they are used to understand; they are employed with a particular kind of flexibility. This analysis is used to dissolve the eliminativism debate of the 1980s, and to transform a number of other questions about the status (...) and role of folkpsychology. (shrink)
This paper is about the contemporary debate concerning folkpsychology – the debate between the proponents of the theory theory of folkpsychology and the friends of the simulation alternative.1 At the outset, we need to ask: What should we mean by this term ‘folkpsychology’?
This paper disputes the claim that our understanding of others is enabled by a commonsense or ‘folk’ psychology, whose ‘core’ involves the attribution of intentional states in order to predict and explain behaviour. I argue that interpersonal understanding is seldom, if ever, a matter of two people assigning intentional states to each other but emerges out of a context of interaction between them. Self and other form a coupled system rather than two wholly separate entities equipped with an (...) internalised capacity to assign mental states to the other. This applies even in those instances where one might seem to adopt a ‘detached’ perspective towards others. Thus ‘folkpsychology’, as commonly construed, is not folkpsychology. (shrink)
There has been a long-standing interest in the putative roles that various so-called ‘theory of mind’ abilities might play in enabling us to understand and enjoy narratives. Of late, as our understanding of the complexity and diversity of everyday psychological capacities has become more nuanced and variegated, new possibilities have been articulated: (i) that our capacity for a sophisticated, everyday understanding of actions in terms of reason (our folkpsychology) may itself be best characterized as a kind of (...) narrative practice and (ii) that acquiring the capacity for supplying and digesting reasons explana- tions might (at least normally) depend upon having a special training with narratives. This introductory paper to the volume situates the claims of those who support the narrative approach to folkpsychology against the backdrop of some traditional and new thinking about intersubjectivity, social cognition and ‘theory of mind’ abilities. Special emphasis is laid on the different reasons for being interested in these claims about narrative practice and folkpsychology in light of various empirical and philosophical agendas. (shrink)
It has recently been argued that the success of the connectionist program in cognitive science would threaten folkpsychology. I articulate and defend a "minimalist" construal of folkpsychology that comports well with empirical evidence on the folk understanding of belief and is compatible with even the most radical developments in cognitive science.
Kristin Andrews proposes a new framework for thinking about folkpsychology, which she calls Pluralistic FolkPsychology. Her approach emphasizes kinds of psychological prediction and explanation that don't rest on propositional attitude attribution. Here I review some elements of her theory and find that, although the approach is very promising, there's still work to be done before we can conclude that the manners of prediction and explanation she identifies don't involve implicit propositional attitude attribution.
It is often assumed that cognitive science is built upon folkpsychology, and that challenges to folkpsychology are therefore challenges to cognitive science itself. We argue that, in practice, cognitive science and folkpsychology treat entirely non-overlapping domains: cognitive science considers aspects of mental life which do not depend on general knowledge, whereas folkpsychology considers aspects of mental life which do depend on general knowledge. We back up our argument on (...) theoretical grounds, and also illustrate the separation between cognitive scientific and folk psychological phenomena in a number of cognitive domains. We consider the methodological and theoretical significance of our arguments for cognitive science research. (shrink)
Stich and Ravenscroft (1994) distinguish between internal and external accounts of folkpsychology 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 folkpsychology 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 folkpsychology 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 folkpsychology, escape being put out of business if the simulation theory is correct. (shrink)
This is a truly groundbreaking work that examines today’s notions of folkpsychology. Bringing together disciplines as various as cognitive science and anthropology, the authors analyze and question key assumptions about the nature, scope and function of folkpsychology.
In this paper, I address Mitchell Herschbach’s arguments against the phenomenological critics of folkpsychology. Central to Herschbach’s arguments is the introduction of Michael Wheeler’s distinction between ‘on-line’ and ‘off-line’ intelligence to the debate on social understanding. Herschbach uses this distinction to describe two arguments made by the phenomenological critics. The first is that folkpsychology is exclusively off-line and mentalistic. The second is that social understanding is on-line and non-mentalistic. To counter the phenomenological critics, Herschbach (...) argues for the existence of on-line false belief understanding. This demonstrates that folkpsychology is not restricted to off-line forms and that folkpsychology is more widespread than the phenomenological critics acknowledge. In response, I argue the on-line/off-line distinction is a problematic way of demarcating the phenomenological critics from orthodox accounts of folkpsychology. (shrink)
My commentary on Hurley is concerned with foundational issues. Hurley's investigation of animal cognition is cast within a particular framework—basically, a philosophically refined version of folkpsychology. Her discussion has a complicated relationship to unresolved debates about the nature and status of folkpsychology, especially debates about the extent to which folk psychological categories are aimed at picking out features of the causal organization of the mind.
Some eliminativists have predicted that a developed neuroscience will eradicate the principles and theoretical kinds (belief, desire, etc.) implicit in our ordinary practices of mental state attribution. Prevailing defenses of common-sense psychology infer its basic integrity from its familiarity and instrumental success in everyday social commerce. Such common-sense defenses charge that eliminativist arguments are self-defeating in their folk psychological appeal to the belief that eliminativism is true. I argue that eliminativism is untouched by this simple charge of inconsistency, (...) and introduce a different dialectical strategy for arguing against the eliminativist. In keeping with the naturalistic trend in the sociology and philosophy of science, I show that neuroscientists routinely rely on folk psychological procedures of intentional state attribution in applying epistemically reliable standards of scientific evaluation. These scientific contexts place ordinary procedures of attribution under greater stress, producing evidence of folk psychological success that is less equivocal than the evidence in mundane settings. Therefore, the dependence of science on folkpsychology, when combined with an independently plausible explanatory constraint on reduction and an independently motivated notion of theoretical stress, allows us to reconstitute the charge of (neurophilic) eliminativist inconsistency in a more sophisticated form. (shrink)
This paper promotes the view that our childhood engagement with narratives of a certain kind is the basis of sophisticated folk psychological abilities —i.e. it is through such socially scaffolded means that folk psychological skills are normally acquired and fostered. Undeniably, we often use our folk psychological apparatus in speculating about why another may have acted on a particular occasion, but this is at best a peripheral and parasitic use. Our primary understanding and skill in folk (...)psychology derives from and has its primary application in special kinds of second-personal engagements. (shrink)
One of the central explananda in the debate on social cognition is the interpretation of other people in terms of reasons for action. There is a growing dissatisfaction among participants in the debate concerning the descriptive adequacy of the traditional belief-desire model of action interpretation. Applying this model as an explanatory model at the subpersonal level threatens to leave the original explanandum largely unarticulated. Against this background we show how Brandom’s deontic scorekeeping model can be used as a valuable descriptive (...) tool for making folkpsychology explicit. Following Brandom’s non-formalist and non-mentalistic account of reason discourse, we suggest that the process of making sense of others is best captured as proceeding from a ‘factive’ baseline. According to this picture the ascription of beliefs and desires is not the default interpretation strategy, but rather the result of prior scaffolding of the agent’s deontic score. We close by discussing Brandom’s model in the light of empirical findings on the ontogeny of reason attribution. (shrink)
Simulation as an epistemic tool between theory and practice: A Comparison of the Relationship between Theory and Simulation in Science and in FolkPsychology In this paper I explore the concept of simulation that is employed by proponents of the so-called simulation theory within the debate about the nature and scientific status of folkpsychology. According to simulation theory, folkpsychology 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 simulation theory. Specifically, I defend the thesis that the analogy to simulations in science shows us how theoretical elements in folkpsychology can be complemented by (i.e. not replaced by) the central idea of simulation theory – namely that our own cognitive habits and dispositions provide us with a resource that is distinct from propositional knowledge in folkpsychology. 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)
Pickering and Chater (P&C) maintain that folkpsychology and cognitive science should neither compete nor cooperate. Each is an independent enterprise, with a distinct subject matter and characteristic modes of explanation. P&C''s case depends upon their characterizations of cognitive science and folkpsychology. We question the basis for their characterizations, challenge both the coherence and the individual adequacy of their contrasts between the two, and show that they waver in their views about the scope of each. (...) We conclude that P&C do not so muchdiscover ascreate the gap they find between folkpsychology and cognitive science. It is an artifact of their implausible and unmotivated attempt to demarcate the two areas, and of the excessively narrow accounts they give of each. (shrink)
Four experiments examined people’s folk-psychological concept of intentional action. The chief question was whether or not _evaluative _considerations — considerations of good and bad, right and wrong, praise and blame — played any role in that concept. The results indicated that the moral qualities of a behavior strongly influence people’s judgements as to whether or not that behavior should be considered ‘intentional.’ After eliminating a number of alternative explanations, the author concludes that this effect is best explained by the (...) hypothesis that evaluative considerations do play some role in people’s concept of intentional action.<b> </b>. (shrink)
This paper discusses some requirements on a folk-psychological, computational account of concepts. Although most psychological views take the folk-psychological stance that concept-possession requires capacities of both representation and classification, such views lack a philosophical context. In contrast, philosophically motivated views stress one of these capacities at the expense of the other. This paper seeks to provide some philosophical motivation for the (folk-) psychological stance. Philosophical and psychological constraints on a computational level account provide the context for evaluating (...) two theses. The first, the Classificatory View, is that concept-possession is constituted by the ability to classify states of the world. I argue, against this view, that to be able to classify, a thinker must also be able to represent the world. The second thesis, the Representational View, is that to possess a concept is constituted by the ability to represent the world. I argue that ascribing this ability is incoherent without ascribing an ability to classify. Hence, a detailed computational specification of concept-possession suggests that the folk-psychological stance is accurate. Philosophical views of concepts, (e.g. Fodor, 1987), adhering to one of the strong theses, whilst adverting to folk-psychological motivations, are thus both insufficiently complex and incoherent. (shrink)
In this paper, I seek to refute arguments for the idea that folk psychological explanation, i.e., the explanation of actions, beliefs and desires in terms of one another, should be understood as being of a different character than ordinary scientific explanations, a view defended most prominently in analytical philosophy by Donald Davidson and John McDowell. My strategy involves arguing both against the extant arguments for the idea that FP must be construed as giving such explanations, and also against the (...) very notion of such a different kind of explanation. I argue first that the in some sense a priori and conceptual nature of folk psychological principles does not support the idea that these are other than empirical generalisations, by appeal to recent nativist ideas in cognitive science and to Lewis's conception of the meaning of theoretical terms. Second, I argue that there is no coherent sense in which folk psychological explanations can be seen as normative. Thirdly, I examine the putatively holistic character of the mental and conclude that that too fails to provide any cogent reasons for viewing folk psychological explanations as different from other kinds of explanation. (shrink)
There is a long-standing debate in the philosophy of action and the philosophy of science over folk psychological explanations of human action: do the (perhaps implicit) generalizations that underwrite such explanations purport to state contingent, empirically established connections between beliefs, desires, and actions, or do such generalizations serve rather to define, at least in part, what it is to have a belief or desire, or perform an action? This question has proven important because of certain traditional assumptions made about (...) the role of law-statements in scientific explanations. According to this tradition, law-statements take the form of generalizations, and the laws we find in well-established sciences are contingent and empirical; as such, if the kinds of generalizations at work in folk psychological explanations of human action act like definitions, or state conceptual connections, then such generalizations could not play the kind of explanatory role we find in mature sciences. This paper argues that the aforementioned way of framing the debate reflects a still powerful but impoverished conception of the role laws play in scientific explanations, a conception that, moreover, cannot be reconciled with a good deal of actual scientific practice. When we update the philosophy of science, we find the concerns that are raised for folk psychological explanations largely evaporate or are found not to be specific to such explanations. (shrink)
It is almost universally agreed that the main business of commonsense psychology is that of providing generally reliable predictions and explanations of the actions of others. In line with this, it is also generally assumed that we are normally at theoretical remove from others such that we are always ascribing causally efficacious mental states to them for the purpose of prediction, explanation and control. Building on the work of those who regard our primary intersubjective interactions as a form of (...) 'embodied practice', I defend a secondpersonal approach in this paper. (shrink)
Jerry Fodor has long championed the view, recently dubbed “scientific intentional realism” (Loewer and Ray, 1991, p. xiv), that “a scientifically adequate psychology will contain laws that quantify over intentional phenomena in intentional terms.” On such a view our belief/desire psychology will be “vindicated” through empirical investigation; that is, it will be shown to denote the explanatory (or causally salient) states or events in the production of thought and behavior. That intentional properties, states, or events have causal efficacy---are (...) not mere epiphenomena---is necessary for any such vindication. This paper investigates whether intentional properties can if fact ground or sustain the causal relations empirical psychology aims to reveal. I conclude that intentional properties are not amenable to such an explanatory role, and that, therefore, a different vindication of intentional description is required of the realist. (shrink)
There is a 'philosophers' assumption that there is a problem with the very notion of an unconscious mental state.The paper begins by outlining how the problem is generated, and proceeds to argue that certain conditions need to be fulfilled if the unconscious is to qualify as mental. An explanation is required as to why we would ever expect these conditions to be fulfilled, and it is suggested that the Freudian concept of repression has an essential role to play in such (...) an explanation. Notoriously this concept brings with it a further puzzle: it looks as though repression serves a purpose, and so requires an agent to execute this purpose, a repressor. Paradox is avoided only if repression is viewed in biologicalfunctional terms.The result is that the notion of the unconscious is saved from the a priori objections often levelled at it by philosophers.This still leaves considerable theoretical work to be done by psychological science. (shrink)
Prominent accounts of language use (those of Grice, Lewis, Stalnaker, Sperber and Wilson among others) have viewed basic communicative acts as essentially involving the attitudes of the participating agents. Developmental data poses a dilemma for these accounts, since it suggests children below age four are competent communicators but would lack the ability to conceptualise communication if philosophers and linguists are right about what communication is. This paper argues that this dilemma is quite serious and that these prominent accounts would be (...) undermined if an adequate more minimal alternative were available. Just such a minimalist account of communication is offered, drawing on ideas from relevance theory and situation theory. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to clarify the role of the distinction between belief and opinion in the light of Dennett's intentional stance. In particular, I consider whether the distinction could be used for a defence of the stance from various criticisms. I will then apply the distinction to the so-called `paradoxes of irrationality'. In this context I will propose that we should avoid the postulation of `boundaries' or `gaps' within the mind, and will attempt to show that a (...) useful treatment of the paradoxes can be obtained by revising the rationality assumption. (shrink)
Humans have a folkpsychology, without question. Paul Churchland used the term to describe “our commonsense conception of psychological phenomena” (Churchland 1981, p. 67), whatever that may be. When we ask the question whether animals have their own folkpsychology, we’re asking whether any other species has a commonsense conception of psychological phenomenon as well. Different versions of this question have been discussed over the past 25 years, but no clear answer has emerged. Perhaps one reason (...) for this lack of progress is that we don’t clearly understand the question. In asking whether animals have folkpsychology, I hope to help clarify the concept of folkpsychology itself, and in the process, to gain a greater understanding of the role of belief and desire attribution in human social interaction. (shrink)
It is widely agreed that folkpsychology plays an important role in people’s moral judgments. For a simple example, take the process by which we determine whether or not an agent is morally blameworthy. Although the judgment here is ultimately a moral one, it seems that one needs to use a fair amount of folkpsychology along the way. Thus, one might determine that an agent broke the vase intentionally and therefore conclude that she is blameworthy (...) for breaking it. Here it seems that one starts out with a folkpsychological judgment (that the agent acted intentionally) and then uses it as input to a process that eventually yields a moral judgment (that the agent is blameworthy). Many other cases have a similar structure. In recent years, however, a number of studies have shown that there are also cases in which the arrow of causation goes in the opposite direction. That is, there appear to be cases in which people start out with a moral judgment and then use it as input to a process that eventually yields a folk-psychological judgment (Knobe 2003a, 2003b, 2004, 2005a, 2005b). These findings come as something of a surprise, and it can be difficult to know just what to make of them. My own view is that the findings are best explained by the hypothesis that moral considerations truly do play a role in people’s underlying folk-psychological concepts (Knobe 2003b, 2004, forthcoming). The key claim here is that the effects revealed in recent experiments are not the result of any kind of ‘bias’ or ‘distortion.’ Rather, moral considerations truly do figure in a fundamental way in the issues people are trying to resolve when they grapple with folk-psychological questions. I must confess, however, that not all researchers in the field share this view. Although many have been convinced that moral considerations actually do play a role in folk-psychological concepts, others have suggested that there might be better ways to account for the results of recent experiments.. (shrink)
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 folkpsychology 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 folkpsychology 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 folkpsychology 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)
According to agent-causal accounts of free will, agents have the capacity to cause actions, and for a given action, an agent could have done otherwise. This paper uses existing results and presents experimental evidence to argue that young children deploy a notion of agent-causation. If young children do have such a notion, however, it remains quite unclear how they acquire it. Several possible acquisition stories are canvassed, including the possibility that the notion of agent-causation develops from a prior notion of (...) obligation. Finally, the paper sets out how this work might illuminate the philosophical problem of free will. (shrink)
Tyler Burge's (1979) famous thought experiment concerning 'arthritis' is commonly assumed to show that all ascriptions of content to beliefs and other attitudes are dependent for their truth upon facts about the agent's social and linguistic environment. It is also commonly claimed that Burge's argument shows that Putnam's (1975) result regarding natural kind terms applies to all general terms whatever, and hence shows that all such terms have wide meanings.1 But I wish to show here, first, that neither Burge's initial (...) thought experiment nor a second type of example that Burge describes supports either of these conclusions. Second, I will identify the proper conclusion to draw from Burge's discussion and show that this conclusion does not really pose a serious problem for individualism about the mental. And finally, I will argue that Burge's discussion does not in fact provide a conclusive reason for believing its proper conclusion. (shrink)