The Second Person in the Theory of Mind Debate

Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (2):231-248 (2012)
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It has become increasingly common to talk about the second person in the theory of mind debate. While theory theory and simulation theory are described as third person and first person accounts respectively, a second person account suggests itself as a viable, though wrongfully neglected third option. In this paper I argue that this way of framing the debate is misleading. Although defenders of second person accounts make use of the vocabulary of the theory of mind debate, they understand some of the core expressions in a different way. I will illustrate this claim by focusing on Reddy’s and Gallagher’s accounts and argue that these authors use the notions of knowing and of understanding other minds differently than traditionally assumed. As a consequence, second person accounts thus conceived do not directly address the questions that gave rise to the theory of mind debate. They invite us, however, to critically reflect upon the way the debate has been set up.

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Monika Dullstein
Universität Heidelberg

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References found in this work

The Language of Thought.Jerry A. Fodor - 1975 - Harvard University Press.
The Phenomenological Mind.Shaun Gallagher & Dan Zahavi - 2008 - New York, NY: Routledge. Edited by Dan Zahavi.
How the Body Shapes the Mind.Shaun Gallagher - 2005 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?David Premack & G. Woodruff - 1978 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 4 (4):515-629.

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