Emma Borg
University of Reading
A common deflationary tendency has emerged recently in both philosophical accounts and comparative animal studies concerned with how subjects understand the actions of others. The suggestion emerging from both arenas is that the default mechanism for understanding action involves only a sensitivity to the observable, behavioural features of a situation. This kind of ‘smart behaviour reading’ thus suggests that, typically, predicting or explaining the behaviour of conspecifics does not require seeing the other through the lens of mental state attribution. This paper aims to explore and assess this deflationary move. In §1 I clarify what might be involved in a smart behaviour reading account via looking at some concrete examples. Then in §2 I critically assess the deflationary move, arguing that, at least in the human case, it would in fact be a mistake to assume that our default method of action understanding proceeds without appeal to mental state attribution. Finally in §3 I consider briefly how the positive view proposed here relates to discussions about standard two-system models of cognition.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2018
DOI 10.1007/s13164-018-0386-3
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 62,205
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Thinking, Fast and Slow.Daniel Kahneman - 2011 - New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Does the Chimpanzee Have a Theory of Mind?David Premack & G. Woodruff - 1978 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 4 (4):515-629.

View all 49 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Critique of Embodied Simulation.Shannon Spaulding - 2011 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (3):579-599.
Pragmatism, Minimalism, Expressivism.Michael Williams - 2010 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 18 (3):317-330.
Why Deflationists Should Be Pretense Theorists (and Perhaps Already Are).Bradley Armour-Garb & James A. Woodbridge - 2010 - In Cory D. Wright & Nikolaj J. L. L. Pedersen (eds.), New Waves in Truth. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 59-77.
Truth, Deflationism, and Success.Jerry Kapus - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 6:85-91.
Truth, Deflationism, and Success.Jerry Kapus - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 6:85-91.
Emotivism and Deflationary Truth.Kyle Swan - 2002 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 83 (3):270–281.
Behavior and action.Stanisław Judycki - 2006 - Diametros:82-97.
Deflationary Representation, Inference, and Practice.Mauricio Suárez - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 49:36-47.
Dualism in Action.Jennifer Hornsby - 1993 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 43:377-401.
Truth Incorporated.Gurpreet Rattan - 2016 - Noûs 50 (2):227-258.


Added to PP index

Total views
29 ( #374,550 of 2,444,728 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #186,035 of 2,444,728 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes