Synthese 165 (1):13 - 29 (2008)

Abstract
I suggest a pluralistic account of folk psychology according to which not all predictions or explanations rely on the attribution of mental states, and not all intentional actions are explained by mental states. This view of folk psychology is supported by research in developmental and social psychology. It is well known that people use personality traits to predict behavior. I argue that trait attribution is not shorthand for mental state attributions, since traits are not identical to beliefs or desires, and an understanding of belief or desire is not necessary for using trait attributions. In addition, we sometimes predict and explain behavior through appeal to personality traits that the target wouldn't endorse, and so could not serve as the target's reasons. I conclude by suggesting that our folk psychology includes the notion that some behavior is explained by personality traits—who the person is—rather than by beliefs and desires—what the person thinks. Consequences of this view for the debate between simulation theory and theory theory, as well as the debate on chimpanzee theory of mind are discussed
Keywords Folk psychology  Action theory  Belief attribution  Explanation  Prediction  Animal cognition  Developmental psychology  Social psychology  Simulation theory  Theory theory  Chimpanzee mind  Theory of mind
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-007-9230-5
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References found in this work BETA

Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.

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Citations of this work BETA

Character and Theory of Mind: An Integrative Approach.Evan Westra - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (5):1217-1241.
The Function of Folk Psychology: Mind Reading or Mind Shaping?Tadeusz W. Zawidzki - 2008 - Philosophical Explorations 11 (3):193 – 210.
The New Hybrids: Continuing Debates on Social Perception.Shaun Gallagher - 2015 - Consciousness and Cognition 36:452-465.

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