Mental fictionalism holds that folk psychology should be regarded as a kind of fiction. The present version gives a Lewisian prefix semantics for mentalistic discourse, where roughly, a mentalistic sentence “p” is true iff “p” is deducible from the folk psychological fiction. An eliminativist version of the view can seem self-refuting, but this charge is neutralized. Yet a different kind of “self-effacing” emerges: Mental fictionalism appears to be a mere “parasite” on a future science of cognition, without contributing anything substantial. (...) The paper then rebuts the objection, illustrating that prefix semantics resolves a lingering problem for eliminativism from Boghossian. The problem is that eliminativists seem unable to adopt realism about neuroscience, for such realism implies that neuroscientific statements *represent* reality accurately. However, a deflationary version of prefix semantics allows the eliminativist to draw an ontologically relevant distinction (roughly) between truths that have a story-telling prefix and those that do not. (Deflationism means there is no implication that the unprefixed sentences robustly represent reality.) The overarching lesson is that eliminativists need to approach to ontology carefully so to avoid self-refutation; however, prefix semantical mental fictionalism provides the resources for them to do so. (shrink)
In this paper I argue in defense of an important fragment of folk psychology. Specifically, I argue that many propositions about the ontology of mental states and about mental causation are true largely because of certain observable features of human linguistic behavior. I conclude that these propositions are immune to common avenues of eliminativist criticism. I compare and contrast this argument with some previous arguments about the truth of folk psychology.
The knowledge-centric Theory of Mind research program suggested by Phillips et al. stands to gain significant value by embracing a neurocognitive approach that takes full advantage of techniques like fMRI and EEG. This neurocognitive approach has already begun providing important insights into the mechanisms of knowledge attribution, insights which support the claim that it is more basic than belief attribution.
In this review of Allen & Bekoff's Species of Mind, underlying theoretical assumptions of cognitive ethology are examined from a biological and philosophical viewpoint. In particular, the aim of the book to constitute a foundational concept for cognitive ethology is addressed. The ambiguity of theory-of-mind approaches in animal cognition is discussed as a major problem for causal explanations in behavioural biology.
I argue for three points: First, evidence of the primacy of knowledge representation is not evidence of primacy of knowledge. Second, knowledge-oriented mindreading research should also focus on misrepresentations and biased representations of knowledge. Third, knowledge-oriented mindreading research must confront the problem of the gold standard that arises when disagreement about knowledge complicates the interpretation of empirical findings.
Positing implicit social cognitive processes is common in the social cognition literature. We see it in discussions of theories of mentalizing, empathy, and infants' social-cognitive capacities. However, there is little effort to articulate what counts as implicit social cognition in general, so theorizing about implicit social cognition is extremely disparate across each of these sub-domains. In this paper, I argue that Michael Brownstein’s account of implicit cognition promises to be a fruitful, unifying account of implicit cognition in general, and it (...) is well suited to explain implicit cognition in various sub-domains of social cognition. (shrink)
I have proposed wedding the theories of belief known as dispositionalism and interpretivism. Krzysztof Poslajko objects that dispositionalism does just fine on its own and, moreover, is better off without interpretivism’s metaphysical baggage. I argue that Poslajko is wrong: in order to secure a principled criterion for individuating beliefs, dispositionalism must either collapse into psychofunctionalism (or some other non-superficial theory) or accept interpretivism’s hand in marriage.
Here I explore a new line of evidence for belief–credence dualism, the thesis that beliefs and credences are distinct and equally fundamental types of mental states. Despite considerable recent disagreement over this thesis, little attention has been paid in philosophy to differences in how our mindreading systems represent the beliefs and credences of others. Fascinatingly, the systems we rely on to accurately and efficiently track others’ mental states appear to function like belief–credence dualists: Credence is tracked like an emotional state, (...) composed of both representational and affective content, whereas belief is tracked like a bare representational state with no affective component. I argue on a preliminary basis that, in this particular case, the mechanics of mentalizing likely pick out a genuine affective dimension to credence that is absent for belief, further strengthening the converging case for belief–credence dualism. (shrink)
In Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee reveals that American man of integrity Atticus Finch harbors deep-seated racist beliefs. Bob Ewell, Finch's nemesis in To Kill a Mockingbird, harbors the same beliefs. But the two men live out their shared racist beliefs in dramatically different fashions. This article argues that extant dispositionalist accounts of belief lack the tools to accommodate Finch and Ewell's divergent styles of believing. It then draws on literary and philosophical character studies to construct the required tools.
What attitude does someone manifesting implicit bias really have? According to the default representationalist picture, implicit bias involves having conflicting attitudes (explicit versus implicit) with respect to the topic at hand. In opposition to this orthodoxy, dispositionalists argue that attitudes should be understood as higher-level dispositional features of the person as a whole. Following this metaphysical view, the discordance characteristic of implicit bias shows that someone’s attitude regarding the topic at hand is not-fully-manifested or ‘in-between’. However, so far few representationalists (...) have been convinced by dispositionalist arguments, largely because dispositionalism cannot provide explanations in terms of underlying processes. We argue that if dispositionalism wants to be a genuine contender, it should make clear what it has to offer in terms of understanding of implicit bias. As a concrete proposal, we combine dispositionalist metaphysics with the idea that our normative practices of attitude ascription partly determine what it means to have an attitude. We show that such regulative dispositionalism can account for two prominent normative features of implicit bias. We conclude by suggesting that in order to engage in a meaningful debate with representationalism, dispositionalists might have to put the question ‘what counts as a good explanation?’ back on the table. (shrink)
A pluralistic approach to folk psychology must countenance the evaluative, regulatory, predictive, and explanatory roles played by attributions of intelligence in social practices across cultures. Building off of the work of the psychologist Robert Sternberg and the philosophers Gilbert Ryle and Daniel Dennett, I argue that a relativistic interpretivism best accounts for the many varieties of intelligence that emerge from folk discourse. To be intelligent is to be comparatively good at solving intellectual problems that an interpreter deems worth solving.
Psychometric g—a statistical factor capturing intercorrelations between scores on different IQ tests—is of theoretical interest despite being a low-fidelity model of both folk psychological intelligence and its cognitive/neural underpinnings. Psychometric g idealizes away from those aspects of cognitive/neural mechanisms that are not explanatory of the relevant variety of folk psychological intelligence, and it idealizes away from those varieties of folk psychological intelligence that are not generated by the relevant cognitive/neural substrate. In this manner, g constitutes a high-fidelity bridge model of (...) the relationship between its two targets and, thereby, helps demystify the relationship between folk and scientific psychology. (shrink)
Double dissociations between perceivable colors and physical properties of colored objects have led many philosophers to endorse relationalist accounts of color. I argue that there are analogous double dissociations between attitudes of belief—the beliefs that people attribute to each other in everyday life—and intrinsic cognitive states of belief—the beliefs that some cognitive scientists posit as cogs in cognitive systems—pitched at every level of psychological explanation. These dissociations provide good reason to refrain from conflating attitudes of belief with intrinsic cognitive states (...) of belief. I suggest that interpretivism provides an attractive account of the former. Like colors, attitudes of belief evolved to be ecological signifiers, not cogs in cognitive systems. (shrink)
In a recent article in this journal, Krzysztof Poslajko reconstructs—and endorses as probative—a dilemma for interpretivism first posed by Alex Byrne. On the first horn of the dilemma, the interpretivist takes attitudes to emerge in relation to an ideal interpreter (and thus loses any connection with actual folk psychological practices). On the second horn, the interpretivist takes attitudes to emerge in relation to individuals’ judgements (and thus denies the possibility of error). I show that this is a false dilemma. By (...) taking a model-theoretic approach to folk psychology, and marrying interpretivism with dispositionalism, interpretivists can viably reject the notion of an ideal (or canonical) interpreter—and relativize attitudes to actual lay interpreters—without taking on board the unacceptable epistemological consequences of allowing that attitudes are judgement-dependent. (shrink)
When experiencing personal distress, people usually expect their romantic partner to be supportive. However, when put in a situation to provide support, people may at times be struggling with issues of their own. This interdependent nature of dyadic coping interactions as well as potential spillover effects is mirrored in the state-of-the-art research method to behaviorally assess couple’s dyadic coping processes. This paradigm typically includes two videotaped 8-min dyadic coping conversations in which partners swap roles as sharer and support provider. Little (...) is known about how such dyadic coping interactions may feed back into one another, impacting the motivation and ability to be a responsive support provider. In three behavioral studies, we examined how sharers’ experiences may spill over to affect their own support provision in a subsequent dyadic coping interaction. We hypothesized that the extent to which sharers perceive their partner as responsive to their self-disclosure increases the quality of their own subsequent support provision, whereas sharers’ lingering negative affect reduces the quality of their own subsequent support provision. In line with our first hypothesis, perceived partner responsiveness predicted the provision of higher-quality support, though primarily as perceived by the partner. Sharers who perceived their partner to have been more responsive were somewhat more likely to subsequently engage in positive dyadic coping and were rated as more responsive by their partners. Negative dyadic coping behavior was unaffected. Evidence for our second hypothesis was mixed. While lingering negative affect did not affect positive dyadic coping behavior or perceived support, it did increase the chances of negative dyadic coping behavior. However, given the very low occurrences of negative affect and negative dyadic coping, these findings should be interpreted with caution. Taken together, these findings suggest that support interactions may feed back into one another, highlighting the complex and interdependent nature of dyadic coping. The strongest and most consistent findings concerned the spillover effect of perceived partner responsiveness on subsequent perceived support quality, speaking to the key role of believing that one’s partner is responsive to one’s needs in promoting healthy relationship functioning. (shrink)
Three decades ago, William Ramsey, Steven Stich & Joseph Garon put forward an argument in favor of the following conditional: if connectionist models that implement parallelly distributed processing represent faithfully human cognitive processing, eliminativism about propositional attitudes is true. The corollary of their argument (if it proves to be sound) is that there is no place for folk psychology in contemporary cognitive science. This understanding of connectionism as a hypothesis about cognitive architecture compatible with eliminativism is also endorsed by Paul (...) Churchland, a radical opponent of folk psychology and a prominent supporter of eliminative materialism. I aim to examine whether current connectionist models based on long-short term memory (LSTM) neural networks can back up these arguments in favor of eliminativism. Nonetheless, I will rather put my faith in the eliminativism of the limited domain. This position amounts to the claim that even though connectionist cognitive science has no need whatsoever for folk psychology qua theory, this does not entail the illegitimacy of folk psychology per se in other scientific domains, most notably in humanities, but only on condition that one regards folk psychology as mere heuristics. (shrink)
Collaboration requires agents to coordinate their behavior on the fly, sometimes cooperating to solve a single task together and other times dividing it up into sub‐tasks to work on in parallel. Underlying the human ability to collaborate is theory‐of‐mind (ToM), the ability to infer the hidden mental states that drive others to act. Here, we develop Bayesian Delegation, a decentralized multi‐agent learning mechanism with these abilities. Bayesian Delegation enables agents to rapidly infer the hidden intentions of others by inverse planning. (...) We test Bayesian Delegation in a suite of multi‐agent Markov decision processes inspired by cooking problems. On these tasks, agents with Bayesian Delegation coordinate both their high‐level plans (e.g., what sub‐task they should work on) and their low‐level actions (e.g., avoiding getting in each other's way). When matched with partners that act using the same algorithm, Bayesian Delegation outperforms alternatives. Bayesian Delegation is also a capable ad hoc collaborator and successfully coordinates with other agent types even in the absence of prior experience. Finally, in a behavioral experiment, we show that Bayesian Delegation makes inferences similar to human observers about the intent of others. Together, these results argue for the centrality of ToM for successful decentralized multi‐agent collaboration. (shrink)
This introduction to the topical collection, Folk Psychology: Pluralistic Approaches reviews the origins and basic theoretical tenets of the framework of pluralistic folk psychology. It places special emphasis on pluralism about the variety folk psychological strategies that underlie behavioral prediction and explanation beyond belief-desire attribution, and on the diverse range of social goals that folk psychological reasoning supports beyond prediction and explanation. Pluralism is not presented as a single theory or model of social cognition, but rather as a big-tent research (...) program encompassing both revisionary and more traditionally inspired approaches to folk psychology. After reviewing the origins of pluralistic folk psychology, the papers in the current issue are introduced. These papers fall into three thematic clusters: Folk-psychological strategies beyond propositional attitude attribution ; Enculturation and regulative folk psychology ; and Defenses of pluralism. (shrink)
Evidence of cultural influences on cognition is accumulating, but untangling these cultural influences from one another or from non-cultural influences has remained a challenging task. As between-group differences are neither a sufficient nor a necessary indicator of cultural impact, cross-cultural comparisons in isolation are unable to furnish any cogent conclusions. This shortfall can be compensated by taking a diachronic perspective that focuses on the role of culture for the emergence and evolution of our cognitive abilities. Three strategies for reconstructing early (...) human cognition are presented: the chaîne opératoire approach and its extension to brain-imaging studies, large-scale extrapolations, and phylogenetic comparative methods. While these strategies are reliant on our understanding of present-day cognition, they conversely also have the potential to advance this understanding in fundamental ways. (shrink)
This article reconsiders the relationship between interpretivism about belief and normative standards. Interpretivists have traditionally taken beliefs to be fixed in relation to norms of interpretation. However, recent work by philosophers and psychologists reveals that human belief attribution practices are governed by a rich diversity of normative standards. Interpretivists thus face a dilemma: either give up on the idea that belief is constitutively normative or countenance a context-sensitive disjunction of norms that constitute belief. Either way, interpretivists should embrace the intersubjective (...) indeterminacy of belief. (shrink)
Recent accounts of mindreading—i.e., the human capacity to attribute mental states to interpret, explain, and predict behavior—have suggested that it has evolved through cultural rather than biological evolution. Although these accounts describe the role of culture in the ontogenetic development of mindreading, they neglect the question of the cultural origins of mindreading in human prehistory. We discuss four possible models of this, distinguished by the role they posit for culture: the standard evolutionary psychology model, the individualist empiricist model, the cultural (...) empiricist model, and the radical socio-cultural constructivist model, which we favor. We motivate model by arguing that many forms of mental state ascription do not serve the function of simply describing inner states causally responsible for the behavior of a cognitive agent; rather, they relate the agent to her environment by characterizing her practical commitments. Making these practical commitments explicit has an important regulatory function in that it supports action coordination and alignment on joint goals. We propose a model of how the ascription of mental states may have evolved as a linguistic device to perform exactly this function of making agents’ practical commitments explicit. (shrink)
In Pieces of Mind: The Proper Domain of Psychological Predicates (Oxford UP, 2018), I argue that psychological predicates used to ascribe cognitive capacities to many nonhuman biological species should be interpreted literally with the same reference for humans and nonhumans alike. In this Mind & Language book symposium, I respond to comments and criticisms by Zoe Drayson, Edouard Machery, and Eric Schwitzgebel, and conclude that the Literalist position is still the best interpretation of these uses.
In "Cognition Beyond the Human Domain", Angel Garcia Rodriguez provides critical commentary on Pieces of Mind: The proper domain of psychological predicates (Oxford UP, 2018). In this reply, I argue that his alternative "No-Core" semantic proposal is not an alternative to the Literalist view I defend, but rather one way of elaborating that position.
In the paper, I examine the conditions that are necessary for the correct characterization of the phenomenon of self-deception. Deflationists believe that the phenomenon of self-deception can be characterized as a kind of motivationally biased belief-forming process. They face the selectivity problem according to which the presence of a desire for something to be the case is not enough to produce a self-deceptive belief. Intentionalists argue that the solution to the selectivity problem consists in invoking the notion of intention. According (...) to them, self-deception involves intentional distortion of one's own belief-forming process. In this paper, I defend the claim that intentionalists also face the problem of selectivity. Accordingly, I argue that this objection cannot be used to determine which theory of self-deception is superior. Furthermore, I argue that limiting folk-psychological explanations to reason-based explanations might be responsible for the resilience of the selectivity problem. In that context, as an additional explanatory factor, I emphasize personality traits that, along with motives, play an important role in the psychological explanation of human behavior. In the rest of the paper, I explore how such an expanded view of the folk-psychological explanation can be used to better capture individual cases of self-deception. (shrink)
It’s common to think that animals think. The cat thinks it is time to be fed, the monkey thinks the dominant is a threat. In order to make sense of what the other animals around us do, we ascribe mental states to them. The cat meows at the door because she wants to be let in. The monkey the monkey fails the test because he doesn’t remember the answer. -/- We explain animal actions in terms of their mental states, just (...) as we do with humans. One of us has argued that our science of animal minds requires that animal behavior be explained in such terms, and this doesn’t lead to a problematic use of folk psychology or anthropomorphism (Andrews 2016, 2020). By “anthropomorphism” we mean the attribution of human psychological, social, or normative properties to non-human animals “usually with the implication it is done without sound justification” (Shettleworth 2010, 477). And by “folk psychology” we mean the commonsense practice of seeing action as caused or accompanied by mental states like belief and desire, emotions, and seeing people in terms of their moods or personality traits, as well as categorizing complex behaviors as examples of grieving, communicating, or teaching (Andrews 2012). Psychologists routinely describe human behaviors in folk psychological terms, so it’s not that the categories are unscientific. The issue with using folk psychology to describe animal behavior is whether observable similarities between human and nonhuman behavior warrants thinking they involve the same psychological kind. The use of folk psychology when talking about animals need not be problematically anthropomorphic, though we need some evidentiary basis for filing animal behavior under some folk psychological category. -/- Despite it being commonplace for humans to attribute thoughts to animals, and there being arguments in favor of doing so in science, the nature of these mental states so many are happy to see in other animals remains unclear. To help bring some focus into the discussion, we will examine the attitude of belief. In this chapter we will examine the various possible statuses of animal beliefs, and the implications of those various views for our folk practice as well as our scientific investigations. (shrink)
I argue that uniquely human forms of ‘Theory of Mind’ are a product of cultural evolution. Specifically, propositional attitude psychology is a linguistically constructed folk model of the human mind, invented by our ancestors for a range of tasks and refined over successive generations of users. The construction of these folk models gave humans new tools for thinking and reasoning about mental states—and so imbued us with abilities not shared by non-linguistic species. I also argue that uniquely human forms of (...) ToM are not required for language development, such that an account of the cultural origins of ToM does not jeopardise the explanation of language development. Finally, I sketch a historical model of the cultural evolution of mental state talk. (shrink)
호프스타터 목사에 의해 근본주의 자연주의 교회의 최신 설교. 그의 훨씬 더 유명한 (또는 그 끊임없는 철학적 오류로 악명 높은) 작업 고델, 에셔, 바흐처럼, 그것은 피상적 인 타당성을 가지고 있지만, 하나는 철학적 인 것들과 실제 과학적 문제를 혼합 만연 한 사이언티즘것을 이해한다면 (즉, 유일한 진짜 문제는 우리가 재생해야하는 언어 게임이다) 다음 거의 모든 관심. 나는 진화 심리학과 비트겐슈타인의 작품에 기반한 분석을위한 프레임 워크를 제공합니다 (이후 내 최근 글에서 업데이트). 현대 의 두 시스템 보기에서인간의 행동에 대한 포괄적 인 최신 프레임 워크를 원하는 (...) 사람들은 내 책을 참조 할 수 있습니다'철학의 논리적 구조, 심리학, 민d와 루드비히 비트겐슈타인과 존 Searle의언어' 2nd ed (2019). 내 글의 더 많은 관심있는 사람들은 '이야기 원숭이를 볼 수 있습니다-철학, 심리학, 과학, 종교와 운명 행성에 정치 - 기사 및 리뷰 2006-2019 3 rd 에드 (2019) 및 21st 세기 4번째 에드 (2019) 및 기타에서 자살 유토피아 망상. (shrink)
Character-trait attribution is an important component of everyday social cognition that has until recently received insufficient attention in traditional accounts of folk psychology. In this paper, I consider how the case of character-trait attribution fits into the debate between mindreading-based and broadly ‘pluralistic’ approaches to folk psychology. Contrary to the arguments of some pluralists, I argue that the evidence on trait understanding does not show that it is a distinct, non-mentalistic mode of folk-psychological reasoning, but rather suggests that traits are (...) ordinarily understood as mentalistic dispositions. I also examine several ways in which trait attribution might also serve regulative, ‘mindshaping’ functions by promoting predictable norm-governed behavior, and argue that mindreading plays several important roles in these cases as well. I conclude that an appreciation of the relationship between trait attribution and mindreading is crucial to understanding the role it plays in our folk psychology. (shrink)
In How We Understand Others: Philosophy and Social Cognition, Shannon Spaulding develops a novel account of social cognition with pessimistic implications for mindreading accuracy: according to Spaulding, mistakes in mentalizing are much more common than traditional theories of mindreading commonly assume. In this commentary, I push against Spaulding’s pessimism from two directions. First, I argue that a number of the heuristic mindreading strategies that Spaulding views as especially error prone might be quite reliable in practice. Second, I argue that current (...) methods for measuring mindreading performance are not well-suited for the task of determining whether our mental-state attributions are generally accurate. I conclude that any claims about the accuracy or inaccuracy of mindreading are currently unjustified. (shrink)
In this essay I explore the resources Thomas Aquinas provides for enquiries concerning the psychological abilities of nonhuman animals. I first look to Aquinas’s account of divine, angelic, human, and nonhuman animal naming, to help us articulate the contours of a ‘critical anthropocentrism’ that aims to steer clear of the mistakes of a na¨ıve anthropocentrism and misconceived avowals to entirely eschew anthropocentrism. I then address the need for our critical anthropocentrism both to reject the mental-physical dichotomy endorsed by ‘folk psychology’ (...) and to articulate a more adequate ‘commonsense psychology’ that acknowledges most embodied animal behavior is observable psychological behavior. Next, I argue that we can develop Aquinas’s doctrine of estimation and conation to formulate an account of nonhuman animal action that more adequately characterizes the purposeful behaviors of nonhuman animals. To do so, we first need to recognize a wider range of nonhuman animal behaviors that are captured by Aquinas’s ‘estimative sense’, and that all of these behaviors are specified by a finite variety of particular goods confined to the animals’ environmental niches. But we also need to supplement Aquinas’s account of human and nonhuman animal agency by exploring the ontogeny and ecology of how humans and other animals become attuned to affordances within these different environmental niches. I argue that we should look to Aquinas’s account of nonhuman animal capacities in ST I-II 6-17 for subtle insights that can expand our understanding of how nonhuman animals engage in purposeful behavior by exercising analogous nonrational and imperfectly voluntary forms of intention, deliberation, choice, execution, and enjoyment. I conclude with an outline for how future enquiry can seek to explain the nonrational purposeful problem-solving competencies of chimps, canines, corvids, cetaceans, cephalopods, and other nonhuman animal species. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to offer a version of the so-called conversational hypothesis of the ontogenetic connection between language and mindreading (Harris 1996, 2005; Van Cleave and Gauker 2010; Hughes et al. 2006). After arguing against a particular way of understanding the hypothesis (the communicative view), I will start from the justificatory view in philosophy of social cognition (Andrews 2012; Hutto 2004; Zawidzki 2013) to make the case for the idea that the primary function of belief and desire (...) attributions is to justify and normalize deviant patterns of behaviour. Following this framework, I elaborate upon the idea that development of folk psychological skills requires the subjects to engage in conversationally mediated joint and cooperative activities in order to acquire the conceptual capacity of ascribing propositional attitudes. After presenting the general version of the hypothesis, I present several testable sub-hypotheses and some psychological studies that give empirical plausibility to the hypothesis. (shrink)
According to pluralistic folk psychology (PFP) we make use of a variety of methods to predict and explain each other, only one of which makes use of attributing propositional attitudes. I discuss three related problems for this view: first, the prediction problem, according to which (some of) PFP’s methods of prediction only work if they also assume a tacit attribution of propositional attitudes; second, the interaction problem, according to which PFP cannot explain how its different methods of prediction and explanation (...) can interact; and third, the difference problem, according to which PFP cannot explain how all of its methods are truly different if it also assumes a dispositionalist account of belief. I argue that a promising solution to these problems should not overestimate the importance and ubiquity of propositional attitude attribution even if the difference between propositional attitude attribution and other types of attribution is a matter of degree rather than kind. Instead, a solution should be sought in a better appreciation of the breadth of folk psychological theorizing and the way in which this can be incorporated into model theory. (shrink)
Endorsing the view that commonsense conceptions are shaped by scientific claims provides an explanation for why microbiota-gut-brain research might become incorporated into commonsense notions of health. But scientific claims also shape notions of personal identity, which accounts for why they can become entrenched in common sense even after they have been refuted by science.
Advocates of eliminative materialism (EM) assure us that our current, ordinary approach to describing the mind will eventually be eliminated, instead of reduced, by a matured neuroscience. However, once we take into account the flexibility, explanatory power, and overall sophistication of ordinary language, then the promissory note offered by eliminative materialism loses all credibility. To bolster the preceding claim, we present three original problems for EM: the accountability problem, the substitution problem, and the discourse dependence problem.
Why do we engage in folk psychology, that is, why do we think about and ascribe propositional attitudes such as beliefs, desires, intentions etc. to people? On the standard view, folk psychology is primarily for mindreading, for detecting mental states and explaining and/or predicting people’s behaviour in terms of them. In contrast, McGeer (1996, 2007, 2015), and Zawidzki (2008, 2013) maintain that folk psychology is not primarily for mindreading but for mindshaping, that is, for moulding people’s behavior and minds (e.g., (...) via the imposition of social norms) so that coordination becomes easier. Mindreading is derived from and only as effective as it is because of mindshaping, not vice versa. I critically assess McGeer’s, and Zawidzki’s proposal and contend that three common motivations for the mindshaping view do not provide sufficient support for their particular version of it. I argue furthermore that their proposal underestimates the role that epistemic processing plays for mindshaping. And I provide reasons for favouring an alternative according to which, in social cognition involving ascriptions of propositional attitudes, neither mindshaping nor mindreading is primary but both are complementary in that effective mindshaping depends as much on mindreading as effective mindreading depends on mindshaping. (shrink)
Theory of mind, also known as mindreading, refers to our ability to attribute mental states to agents in order to make sense of and interact with other agents. Recently, theorists in this literature have advanced a broad conception of mindreading. In particular, psychologists and philosophers have examined how we attribute knowledge, intention, mentalistically-loaded stereotypes, and personality traits to others. Moreover, the diversity of our goals in a social interaction – precision, efficiency, self/in-group protection – generates diversity in the mindreading processes (...) we employ. Finally, the products of mindreading are varied, as well. We produce different sorts of mindreading explanations depending on our epistemic goals and the situational context. In this article, I piece together these different strands of research to present a broad conception of mindreading that is complex, messy, and interesting. (shrink)
Character judgments play an important role in our everyday lives. However, decades of empirical research on trait attribution suggest that the cognitive processes that generate these judgments are prone to a number of biases and cognitive distortions. This gives rise to a skeptical worry about the epistemic foundations of everyday characterological beliefs that has deeply disturbing and alienating consequences. In this paper, I argue that this skeptical worry is misplaced: under the appropriate informational conditions, our everyday character-trait judgments are in (...) fact quite trustworthy. I then propose a mindreading-based model of the socio-cognitive processes underlying trait attribution that explains both why these judgments are initially unreliable, and how they eventually become more accurate. (shrink)
Philosophy, scientific psychology, and common sense all distinguish perception from cognition. While there is little agreement about how the perception–cognition boundary ought to be drawn, one prominent idea is that perceptual states are dependent on a stimulus, or stimulus-dependent, in a way that cognitive states are not. This paper seeks to develop this idea in a way that can accommodate two apparent counterexamples: hallucinations, which are prima facie perceptual yet stimulus-independent; and demonstrative thoughts, which are prima facie cognitive yet stimulus-dependent. (...) The payoff is not only a specific proposal for marking the perception–cognition boundary, but also a deeper understanding of the natures of hallucination and demonstrative thought. (shrink)
Many psychologists studying lay belief attribution and behavior explanation cite Donald Davidson in support of their assumption that people construe beliefs as inner causes. But Davidson’s influential argument is unsound; there are no objective grounds for the intuition that the folk construe beliefs as inner causes that produce behavior. Indeed, recent experimental work by Ian Apperly, Bertram Malle, Henry Wellman, and Tania Lombrozo provides an empirical framework that accords well with Gilbert Ryle’s alternative thesis that the folk construe beliefs as (...) patterns of living that contextualize behavior. (shrink)
The established two tracks of neuroenhancement, moral and cognitive enhancements, rest on the characterization of commonsense morality as a set of static psychological dispositions. In this paper, I challenge this way of describing commonsense morality. I draw a parallel between commonsense psychology and commonsense morality, and I propose that the right way to characterize commonsense morality is as an empirically evaluable theory, with a structure similar to a scientific theory. I argue further that psychological dispositions to react in certain ways (...) require the tacit endorsement of a commonsense moral theory. By adopting this view, I argue that the way to change our psychological dispositions is by changing the background theory that produces them. I conclude that when commonsense morality is construed as an empirically evaluable theory, the cleft between the abilities that support scientific progress and the abilities that promote moral progress closes and it becomes evident that the way to promote both types of advancements is through cognitive enhancement. (shrink)
Clinical delusions are widely characterized as being pathological beliefs in both the clinical literature and in common sense. Recently, a philosophical debate has emerged between defenders of the commonsense position (doxasticists) and their opponents, who have the burden of pointing toward alternative characterizations (anti-doxasticists). In this chapter, I argue that both doxasticism and anti- doxasticism fail to characterize the functional role of delusions while at the same time being unable to play a role in the explanation of these phenomena. I (...) also argue that though a more nuanced view of belief in which mental states are more or less belief-like instills a healthy skepticism towards the precision of folk-psychological concepts, such a stance fails to be of use in building a theory of delusion that will be able to bridge different levels of explanation, such as the phenomenology and neurobiology of delusion. Thus, I advocate moving past the question ‘Are delusions beliefs?’ and their description as propositional attitudes toward the description of the processes that generate delusion, with a view toward explaining, rather than explaining away, the personal-level aspects of the phenomenon that have been made inscrutable by investing in doxastic terminology. (shrink)
Traditional theories of mindreading tend to focus exclusively on attributing beliefs and desires to other agents. The literature emphasizes belief attribution in particular, with numerous debates over when children develop the concept of belief, how neurotypical adult humans attribute beliefs to others, whether non-human animals have the concept of belief, etc. I describe a growing school of thought that the heavy focus on belief leaves traditional theories of mindreading unable to account for the complexity, diversity, and messiness of ordinary social (...) interactions. I present a few broader, more comprehensive conceptions of mindreading that take into account how stereotypes, character trait inferences, social biases, and more influence how we understand and interact with others. These broader conceptions of mindreading promise to be more empirically adequate and have fruitful application to various debates in philosophy and cognitive science. (shrink)
In our everyday social interactions, we try to make sense of what people are thinking, why they act as they do, and what they are likely to do next. This process is called mindreading. Mindreading, Shannon Spaulding argues in this book, is central to our ability to understand and interact with others. Philosophers and cognitive scientists have converged on the idea that mindreading involves theorizing about and simulating others’ mental states. She argues that this view of mindreading is limiting and (...) outdated. Most contemporary views of mindreading vastly underrepresent the diversity and complexity of mindreading. She articulates a new theory of mindreading that takes into account cutting edge philosophical and empirical research on in-group/out-group dynamics, social biases, and how our goals and the situational context influence how we interpret others’ behavior. -/- Spaulding's resulting theory of mindreading provides a more accurate, comprehensive, and perhaps pessimistic view of our abilities to understand others, with important epistemological and ethical implications. Deciding who is trustworthy, knowledgeable, and competent are epistemically and ethically fraught judgments: her new theory of mindreading sheds light on how these judgments are made and the conditions under which they are unreliable. -/- This book will be of great interest to students of philosophy of psychology, philosophy of mind, applied epistemology, cognitive science and moral psychology, as well as those interested in conceptual issues in psychology. (shrink)
Traditionally, theories of mindreading have focused on the representation of beliefs and desires. However, decades of social psychology and social neuroscience have shown that, in addition to reasoning about beliefs and desires, human beings also use representations of character traits to predict and interpret behavior. While a few recent accounts have attempted to accommodate these findings, they have not succeeded in explaining the relation between trait attribution and belief-desire reasoning. On my account, character-trait attribution is part of a hierarchical system (...) for action prediction, and serves to inform hypotheses about agents’ beliefs and desires, which are in turn used to predict and interpret behavior. (shrink)
Mindreading (or folk psychology, Theory of Mind, mentalizing) is the capacity to represent and reason about others’ mental states. The Simulation Theory (ST) is one of the main approaches to mindreading. ST draws on the common-sense idea that we represent and reason about others’ mental states by putting ourselves in their shoes. More precisely, we typically arrive at representing others’ mental states by simulating their mental states in our own mind. This entry offers a detailed analysis of ST, considers theoretical (...) arguments and empirical data in favour of and against it, discusses its philosophical implications, and illustrates some alternatives to it. (shrink)