Richard Griffin
Tufts University
Daniel C. Dennett
Tufts University
Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by difficulties in social interaction. Successful social interaction relies, in part, on determining the thoughts and feelings of others, an ability commonly attributed to our faculty of folk or common-sense psychology. Because the symptoms of autism should be present by around the second birthday, it follows that the study of autism should tell us something about the early emerging mechanisms necessary for the development of an intact faculty of folk psychology. Our aims in this chapter are threefold; to examine the literature on "socialunderstanding" mechanisms in autism, particularly those assumed to develop in the first years of life; to examine the related literature on typically developing infants and toddlers, and to examine the theoretical approaches that attempt to characterize the early stages and development of this impressive skill. In doing so, we hope to help resolve some of the disagreements and sticking points that riddle the topic. In particular we will attempt to shift the focus from whether children have this or that specific mental-state concept to a more developmentally friendly approach centered around the notion of reasons, recognizing that they may well exist before they are represented, and hence before they can be appreciated, or expressed. The peer commentary in Behavioral and Brain Sciences following Premack and Woodruff - "Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind'" - not only introduced the "falsebelief' task, but addressed a host of issues surrounding the characterization of second-order intentional systems, systems that may be interpreted as having beliefs about beliefs (or desires or intentions...
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
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: 54,676
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Two Contrasts: Folk Craft Vs Folk Science and Belief Vs Opinion.Daniel C. Dennett - 1991 - In John D. Greenwood (ed.), The Future of Folk Psychology. Cambridge University Press. pp. 135--148.
Autism: Mind and Brain.Uta Frith & Elisabeth Hill (eds.) - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
Understanding Interpersonal Problems in Autism.Shaun Gallagher - 2004 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 11 (3):199-217.
Why Do Children with Autism Have a Joint Attention Impairment?Sue Leekam - 2005 - In Naomi Eilan, Christoph Hoerl, Teresa McCormack & Johannes Roessler (eds.), Joint Attention: Communication and Other Minds. Issues in Philosophy and Psychology. Oxford University Press.
"Folk Psychology" is Not Folk Psychology.Matthew Ratcliffe - 2006 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 5 (1):31-52.
The Origins of Folk Psychology.George Graham - 1987 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 30 (December):357-79.
Autism, Language, and the Folk Psychology of Souls.Stephen Flusberg & Helen Tager-Flusberg - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (5):473-473.


Added to PP index

Total views
98 ( #98,574 of 2,386,587 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #554,109 of 2,386,587 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes