The myth of the hidden

Dissertation, University College London (2009)

Authors
William E. S. McNeill
University of Southampton
Abstract
Traditionally, it has been supposed that both minds and mental states are unobservable. If the mind and its contents are hidden in this way, our knowledge of others' mental lives would have to be indirect. In this thesis, I argue that it is not plausible-to suppose that all of our knowledge, of others mental lives is indirect. It is more plausible to suppose that sometimes, we can perceive others' mental states. Thereby, we can sometimes come to have direct, perceptual knowledge of when another is in some mental state’ The hypothesis that we can sometimes perceive each others' mental states is plausible because it is possible, and because if it were true, it would bestexplain our knowledge of others' mental states. It is possible to perceive others' mental states, because others' behaviours need not conceal those states. Rather, what behaviour sometimes does is to reveal another's mental state. When behaviour acts this way, knowledge of another's mental state need not rest on any beliefs about their behaviour. If others' behaviour could inform us of their mental states only in so far as it could be our evidence of their mental states, then the evidence it would provide could not be sufficient to secure all the knowledge we take ourselves to have about others’ mental states. If so, the claim that all we have to go on in discovering how others think or feel is the evidence of their behaviour could not hope to explain that knowledge. So, only if it were true that others' behaviour sometimes enabled us to perceive their mental states could we adequately explain all our knowledge of their mental states. For these reasons, I claim that the hiddenness of the mental is a myth.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,291
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

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Embodiment and the Perceptual Hypothesis.William E. S. McNeill - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (247):569 - 591.
The Experience Machine and Mental State Theories of Well-Being.Jason Kawall - 1999 - Journal of Value Inquiry 33 (3):381-387.
Knowledge as a Mental State.Jennifer Nagel - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 4:275-310.
Two Concepts of Consciousness.David M. Rosenthal - 1986 - Philosophical Studies 49 (May):329-59.
Could Mental States Be Brain Processes?Jerome Shaffer - 1961 - Journal of Philosophy 58 (December):813-22.
Problemas del empirismo en la filosofía de la mente.Jose S. Pescador Hierro - 1997 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 16 (2):35-49.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-07-26

Total views
36 ( #302,985 of 2,456,041 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,366 of 2,456,041 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes