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)
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)
According to a popular strategy amongst economists and philosophers, in order to solve the problem of interpersonal utility comparisons, we have to look at how ordinary people make such comparisons in everyday life. The most recent attempt to develop this strategy has been put forward by Goldman in his “Simulation and Interpersonal Utility” (Ethics 4:709–726, 1995). Goldman claims, first, that ordinary people make interpersonal comparisons by simulation and, second, that simulation is reliable for making interpersonal comparisons. In (...) this paper, I focus on Goldman’s latter claim. After updating Goldman’s account of how ordinary people make interpersonal comparisons in the light of Goldman’s newest formulation of his simulationtheory of mental ascription (Goldman, Simulating Minds. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2006), I develop and assess Goldman’s arguments in favour of the reliability of simulation for interpersonal comparisons. I argue that, under certain conditions, there may be room for a scientifically acceptable solution to the problem of interpersonal utility comparisons. (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)
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 (€ 0.75) as opposed to substantial (€ 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)
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)
The TheoryTheory (TT) versus SimulationTheory (ST) debate is primarily concerned with how we understand others’ mental states. Theory theorists claim we do this using rules that are akin to theoretical laws, whereas simulation theorists claim we use our own minds to imagine ourselves in another’s position. Theorists from both camps suggest a consideration of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can help resolve the TT/ST debate (e.g., Baron-Cohen 1995; Carruthers 1996a; Goldman 2006). (...) We present a three-part argument that such research has so far been inconclusive and that the prospects for studies of ASD to resolve the debate in the near future remain uncertain. First, we discuss evidence indicating that some individuals with ASD can perform effectively on tests of mental state understanding, which questions what ASD can tell us regarding theorising or simulation. Second, we claim that there is compelling evidence that domain-general mechanisms are implicated in mental state reasoning, which undermines how ASD might inform the TT/ST debate given that both theories appeal to domain-specific mindreading mechanisms. Third, we suggest that neuroscientific evidence for an assumed role of the mirror neuron system in autism also fails to arbitrate between TT and ST. We suggest that while the study of ASD may eventually provide a resolution to the TT/ST debate, it is also vital for researchers to examine the issues through other avenues, for example, by examining people’s everyday counterfactual reasoning with mental state scenarios. (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)
In contemporary philosophy and psychology there is an ongoing debate around the concept of theory of mind. Theory of mind concerns our ability to understand another person. The two approaches that dominate the debate are “TheoryTheory” (TT) and “SimulationTheory” (ST). This paper explores the connection between theory of mind and hermeneutics. Although both speak of the nature of understanding, and the way we gain and organize our knowledge of others, certain aspects (...) of Schleiermacher’s hermeneutics reflect a theory approach, long before TT itself was developed. In contrast, Dilthey’s hermeneutics reflects a simulation approach. In contrast to both of these approaches, I propose a contextual theory, as a parallel to Gadamer’s work in hermeneutics, and as a view that offers the basis for an important critique of both TT and ST. (shrink)
Theories of mind draw on processes that represent mental states and their computational connections; simulation, in addition, draws on processes that replicate (Heal 1986 ) a sequence of mental states. Moreover, mental simulation can be triggered by input from imagination instead of real perceptions. To avoid confusion between mental states concerning reality and those created in simulation, imagined contents must be quarantined. Goldman bypasses this problem by giving pretend states a special role to play in simulation (...) (Goldman 2006 ). We argue that this path leads to the resurgence of the threat of collapse (Davies 1994 ), diluting the principled distinction between simulation and theory use. Exploration of a related method of real-mental states operating in a pretend mode leads to a factually untenable model. Our main goal here is to raise this problem as a challenge for Goldman’s reconfigured simulationtheory. Only at the end we will briefly sketch a possible alternative way of quarantine that preserves the replicative element of simulation and avoids collapse. Figure 1 provides a guide to our argument. (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)
Theories of mind draw on processes that represent mental states and their computational connections; simulation, in addition, draws on processes that replicate (Heal 1986) a sequence of mental states. Moreover, mental simulation can be triggered by input from imagination instead of real perceptions. To avoid confusion between mental states concerning reality and those created in simulation, imagined contents must be quarantined. Goldman bypasses this problem by giving pretend states a special role to play in simulation (Goldman (...) 2006). We argue that this path leads to the resurgence of the threat of collapse (Davies 1994), diluting the principled distinction between simulation and theory use. Exploration of a related method of real-mental states operating in a pretend mode leads to a factually untenable model. Our main goal here is to raise this problem as a challenge for Goldman's reconfigured simulationtheory. Only at the end we will briefly sketch a possible alternative way of quarantine that preserves the replicative element of simulation and avoids collapse. Figure 1 provides a guide to our argument. (shrink)
Traditionally pragmatists have been favorably disposed to improving our understanding of agency and ethics through the use of empirical research. In the last two decades simulationtheory has been championed in certain cognitive science circles as a way of explaining how we attribute mental states and predict human behavior. Drawing on research in psychology and neuroscience, Alvin I. Goldman and Robert M. Gordon have not only used simulationtheory to discuss how we “mindread”, but have suggested (...) that the theory has implications for ethics. The limitations of simulationtheory for “mindreading” and ethics are addressed in this article from an interactionist or neo-Meadian pragmatic perspective. To demonstrate the limitations of simulationtheory scenes from the television show Mad Men are used as “thought-experiments”. (shrink)
In this paper I criticize Alvin Goldman's simulationtheory of mindreading which involves the claim that the basic method of folk psychologically predicting behaviour is to form pretend beliefs and desires that reproduce the transitions between the mental states of others, in that way enabling to predict what the others are going to do. I argue that when it comes to simulating propositional attitudes it isn't clear whether pretend beliefs need to be invoked in order to explain relevant (...) experimental results, and whether pretend desires can be distinguished from 'real' ones as forming a separate kind of mental states. Since belief-desire model underlies the conception of pretend states in higher-level mindreading, dropping pretend attitudes from the picture isn't possible and, due to that, this model may be incoherent. Nevertheless, Goldman's theory could still survive because it includes an additional model of mindreading, but simulation is given much lesser role there. (shrink)
Mindreading is the ability to attribute mental states to other individuals. According to the simulationtheory (ST), mindreading is based on the ability the mind has of replicating others' mental states and processes. Mirror neurons (MNs) are a class of neurons that fire both when an agent performs a goal-directed action and when she observes the same type of action performed by another individual. Since MNs appear to form a replicative mechanism in which a portion of the observer's (...) brain replicates the agent's brain, MNs have been considered evidence in favor of ST. Jacob (2008), however, has maintained that the recent discovery of so-called logically related MNs refutes the hypothesis that MNs form a replicative mechanism. In this paper, I argue that, contrary to what is claimed by Jacob, one can accept the existence of logically related MNs and, at the same time, still maintain that the activity of MNs is replicative. It follows that MNs still support ST. (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)
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.