Mental states as generalizations from experience: a neuro-computational hypothesis

Philosophical Explorations 17 (2):223-240 (2014)
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The opposition between behaviour- and mind-reading accounts of data on infants and non-human primates could be less dramatic than has been thought up to now. In this paper, I argue for this thesis by analysing a possible neuro-computational explanation of early mind-reading, based on a mechanism of associative generalization which is apt to implement the notion of mental states as intervening variables proposed by Andrew Whiten. This account allows capturing important continuities between behaviour-reading and mind-reading, insofar as both are supposed to be just different kinds of generalization from perceptual experience. Specifically, I will argue that the projection of inner experiences to others which is involved in early mind-reading does not imply a computational leap beyond associative generalization from perceptual experience



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Marco Mazzone
University of Catania

References found in this work

Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?David Premack & G. Woodruff - 1978 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 4 (4):515-629.
Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?David Premack & Guy Woodruff - 1978 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1 (4):515-526.
False-belief understanding in infants.Renée Baillargeon, Rose M. Scott & Zijing He - 2010 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 14 (3):110-118.

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