Holding content explicitly requires a form of self knowledge. But what does the relevant self knowledge look like? Using theory of mind as an example, this paper argues that the correct answer to this question will have to take into account the crucial role of language based deliberation, but warns against the standard assumption that explicitness is necessary for ascribing awareness. It argues in line with Bayne that intentional action is at least an equally valid criterion for awareness. This leads (...) to a distinction between different levels of implicitness. Postulating these different levels, it is argued, allows us to make better sense of the empirical literature on early false belief task abilities. (shrink)
We ordinarily speak of being able to see that there are people on the bus, Students in the class, And children playing in the street. If human beings are understood to be conscious entities, Then one of our ways of knowing that there are other conscious entities in the world besides ourselves is by seeing that there are. We also speak of seeing that he is angry, She is depressed, And so on. It is argued that this is, (...) Indeed, One way of knowing that there are otherminds (and, Hence, That the problem of otherminds is not a special epistemological problem). What helps to obscure this fact is the confusion between visibility and knowability--The confusion between seeing his pain and seeing that he is in pain. (shrink)
In this paper we address the epistemological debate between emerging perceptual accounts of knowingotherminds and traditional theory of mind approaches to the problem of otherminds. We argue that the current formulations of the debate are conceptually misleading and empirically unfounded. Rather, the real contribution of PA is to point out a certain ‘immediacy’ that characterizes episodes of mindreading. We claim that while the intuition of immediacy should be preserved for explaining the nature (...) and function of some cognitive processes of mindreading, the notion of immediacy should apply for describing a particular epistemic attitude and not a particular type of epistemic access. We draw on Wittgenstein's discussions of one's relation to otherminds to elaborate our claims and to move the epistemological discussions beyond stalling debates between ToM and PA. (shrink)
The traditional epistemological problem of otherminds seeks to answer the following question: how can we know someone else's mental states? The problem is often taken to be generated by a fundamental asymmetry in the means of knowledge. In my own case, I can know directly what I think and feel. This sort of self-knowledge is epistemically direct in the sense of being non-inferential and non-observational. My knowledge of otherminds, however, is thought to lack these (...) epistemic features. So what is the basic source of my knowledge of otherminds if I know my mind in such a way that I cannot know the minds of others? The aim of this paper is to clarify and assess the pivotal role that the asymmetry in respect of knowledge plays within a broadly inferentialist approach to the epistemological problem of otherminds. The received dogma has always been to endorse the asymmetry for conceptual reasons and to insist that the idea of knowing someone else's mental life in the same way as one knows one's own mind is a complete non-starter. Against this, I aim to show that it is at best a contingent matter that creatures such as us cannot know otherminds just as we know a good deal of our own minds and also that the idea of having someone else's mind in one's own introspective reach is not obviously self-contradictory. So the dogma needs to be revisited. As a result, the dialectical position of those inferentialists who believe that we know about someone else's mentality in virtue of an analogical inference will be reinforced. (shrink)
There is much disagreement about how extensive a role theoretical mind-reading, behavior-reading, and simulation each have and need to have in our knowing and understanding otherminds, and how each method is implemented in the brain, but less discussion of the epistemological question what it is about the products of these methods that makes them count as knowledge or understanding. This question has become especially salient recently as some have the intuition that mirror neurons can bring understanding (...) of another's action despite involving no higher-order processing, whereas most epistemologists writing about understanding think that it requires reflective access to one's grounds, which is closer to the intuitions of other commenters on mirror neurons. I offer a definition of what it is that makes something understanding that is compelling independently of the context of cognition of otherminds, and use it to show two things: 1) that theoretical mind-reading and simulation bring understanding in virtue of the same epistemic feature, and 2) why the kind of motor representation without propositional attitudes that is done by mirror neurons is sufficient for action understanding. I further suggest that more attention should be paid to the potential disadvantages of a simulative method of knowing. Though it can be more efficient in some cases, it can also bring vulnerability, wear and tear on one's personal equipment, and unintended mimicry. (shrink)
Self-knowledge is the focus of considerable attention from philosophers: Knowing Our Own Minds gives a much-needed overview of current work on the subject, bringing together new essays by leading figures. Knowledge of one's own sensations, desires, intentions, thoughts, beliefs, and other attitudes is characteristically different from other kinds of knowledge: it has greater immediacy, authority, and salience. The contributors examine philosophical questions raised by the distinctive character of self-knowledge, relating it to knowledge of other (...) class='Hi'>minds, to rationality and agency, externalist theories of psychological content, and knowledge of language. Together these original, stimulating, and closely interlinked essays demonstrate the special relevance of self-knowledge to a broad range of issues in epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language. (shrink)
The everyday capacity to understand the mind, or 'mindreading', plays an enormous role in our ordinary lives. Shaun Nichols and Stephen Stich provide a detailed and integrated account of the intricate web of mental components underlying this fascinating and multifarious skill. The imagination, they argue, is essential to understanding others, and there are special cognitive mechanisms for understanding oneself. The account that emerges has broad implications for longstanding philosophical debates over the status of folk psychology. Mindreading is another trailblazing volume (...) in the prestigious interdisciplinary Oxford Cognitive Science series. (shrink)
‘How, then, she had asked herself, did one know one thing or another thing about people, sealed as they were?’ So asks Lily Briscoe in To the Lighthouse. It is this question, rather than any concern about pretence or deception, which forms the basis for the philosophical problem of otherminds. Responses to this problem have tended to cluster around two solutions: either we know others’ minds through perception; or we know others’ minds through a form (...) of inference. In the first part of this paper I argue that this debate is best understood as concerning the question of whether our knowledge of others’ minds is based on perception or based on evidence. In the second part of the paper I suggest that our ordinary ways of thinking take our knowledge of others’ minds to be both non- evidential and non-perceptual. A satisfactory resolution to the philosophical problem of otherminds thus requires us to take seriously the idea that we have a way of knowing about others’ minds which is both non-evidential and non-perceptual. I suggest that our knowledge of others’ minds which is based on their expressions – our expressive knowledge - may fit this bill. (shrink)
Sometime around their first birthday most infants begin to engage in relatively sustained bouts of attending together with their caretakers to objects in their environment. By the age of 18 months, on most accounts, they are engaging in full-blown episodes of joint attention. As developmental psychologists (usually) use the term, for such joint attention to be in play, it is not sufficient that the infant and the adult are in fact attending to the same object, nor that the one’s attention (...) cause the other’s. The latter can and does happen much earlier, whenever the adult follows the baby’s gaze and homes in on the same object as the baby is attending to; or, from the age of six months, when babies begin to follow the gaze of an adult. We have the relevant sense of joint attention in play only when the fact that both child and adult are attending to the same object is, to use Sperber and Wilson’s (1986) phrase, ‘mutually manifest’. Psychologists sometimes speak of such jointness as a case of attention being ‘shared’ by infant and adult, or of a ‘meeting of minds’ between infant and adult, all phrases intended to capture the idea that when joint attention occurs everything about the fact that both subjects are attending to the same object is out in the open, manifest to both participants. (shrink)
The question of what it means to be aware of others as subjects of mental states is often construed as the question of how we are epistemically justified in attributing mental states to others. The dominant answer to this latter question is that we are so justified in virtue of grasping the role of mental states in explaining observed behaviour. This chapter challenges this picture and formulates an alternative by reflecting on the interpretation of early joint attention interactions. It argues (...) that the standard picture is committed to an implausible account of children's awareness of the co-attender's focus of attention. On a more natural interpretation, children engaged in joint attention perceptually recognize the co-attender's attitude to some object, as something like the (correct) answer to the question of what the object is like. The developmentally basic case is not that of attributing mental states as the causes of observed behaviour but of understanding perceived attitudes and actions as appropriate responses to the shared world. The chapter concludes by exploring how this developmental claim bears on mature adult knowledge of otherminds. (shrink)
The problem of otherminds has a distinguished philosophical history stretching back more than two hundred years. Taken at face value, it is an epistemological question: it concerns how we can have knowledge of, or at least justified belief in, the existence of mindsother than our own. In recent decades, philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists, anthropologists and primatologists have debated a related question: how we actually go about attributing mental states to others (regardless of whether we ever (...) achieve knowledge or rational justification in this domain). Until the mid-nineties, the latter debate – which sometimes goes under the name of the “mindreading” debate – was characterized by a fairly clear-cut opposition between two theoretical outlooks: “theory-theory” (TT) and “simulation theory” (ST). Theory-theorists typically argued that we attribute mental states to others on the basis of a “theory of mind” that is either constructed in early infancy and subsequently revised and modified (Gopnik 1996), or else is the result of maturation of innate mindreading “modules” (Baron-Cohen 1995). (shrink)
Explaining the mind by building machines with minds runs into the other-minds problem: How can we tell whether any body other than our own has a mind when the only way to know is by being the other body? In practice we all use some form of Turing Test: If it can do everything a body with a mind can do such that we can't tell them apart, we have no basis for doubting it has (...) a mind. But what is "everything" a body with a mind can do? Turing's original "pen-pal" version (the TT) only tested linguistic capacity, but Searle has shown that a mindless symbol-manipulator could pass the TT undetected. The Total Turing Test (TTT) calls for all of our linguistic and robotic capacities; immune to Searle's argument, it suggests how to ground a symbol manipulating system in the capacity to pick out the objects its symbols refer to. No Turing Test, however, can guarantee that a body has a mind. Worse, nothing in the explanation of its successful performance requires a model to have a mind at all. Minds are hence very different from the unobservables of physics (e.g., superstrings); and Turing Testing, though essential for machine-modeling the mind, can really only yield an explanation of the body. (shrink)
Experiences justify beliefs about our environment. Sometimes the justification is immediate: seeing a red light immediately justifies believing there is a red light. Other times the justification is mediate: seeing a red light justifies believing one should brake in a way that is mediated by background knowledge of traffic signals. How does this distinction map onto the distinction between what is and what isn't part of the content of experience? Epistemic egalitarians think that experiences immediately justify whatever is part (...) of their content. Epistemic elitists deny this and think that there is some further constraint the contents of experience must satisfy to be immediately justified. Here I defend epistemic elitism, propose a phenomenological account of what the further constraint is, and explore the resulting view's consequences for our knowledge of otherminds, and in particular for perceptual theories of this knowledge. (shrink)
How do I know whether there are any minds beside my own? This problem of otherminds in philosophy raises questions which are at the heart of all philosophical investigations--how it is that we know, what is in the mind, and whether we can be certain about any of our beliefs. In this book, Anita Avramides begins with a historical overview of the problem from the Ancient Skeptics to Descartes, Malebranche, Locke, Berkeley, Reid, and Wittgenstein. The second (...) part of the book investigates the views of influential contemporary philosophers such as Strawson, Davidson, Nagel and Searle. (shrink)
This chapter argues that the conceptual problem of otherminds cannot be properly addressed as long as we subscribe to an individualistic model of how we stand in relation to our own experiences and the behaviour of others. For it is commitment to this picture that sponsors the strong first/third person divide that lies at the heart of the two false accounts of experiential concept learning sketched above. This is the true source of the problem. To deal successfully (...) with it we must reconsider our assumptions about the way in which we learn our concepts of experience, self and other, and the order in which we do so. Specifically, we must recognize the intersubjective character of the learning process and we must abandon the idea that we gain a secure grasp of the self/other dichotomy prior to learning our concepts of experience. Focusing on these issues allows us to understand the asymmetrical nature of such concepts. In order to bring these points into sharp relief, the next section is devoted to reviewing the major features of Brewer’s approach to the very same problem in his contribution to this volume, ‘Emotion and OtherMinds’. Although his proposal makes some moves in the right direction, I argue that he does not go far enough. In particular, in focusing exclusively on demonstrative reference, he fails to challenge crucial aspects of the individualistic model that are responsible for generating the problem. Still, using his work as a springboard, it becomes clear exactly which fundamental assumptions need to be revised if we are to understand the context in which we learn our psychological concepts. (shrink)
John McDowell’s original motivation of disjunctivism occurs in the context of a problem regarding otherminds. Recent commentators have insisted that McDowell’s disjunctivism should be classed as an epistemological disjunctivism about epistemic warrant, and distinguished from the perceptual disjunctivism of Hinton, Snowdon and others. In this paper I investigate the relation between the problem of otherminds and disjunctivism, and raise some questions for this interpretation of McDowell.
Scepticism is sometimes expressed about whether there is any interesting problem of otherminds. In this paper I set out a version of the conceptual problem of otherminds which turns on the way in which mental occurrences are presented to the subject and situate it in relation to debates about our knowledge of other people's mental lives. The result is a distinctive problem in the philosophy of mind concerning our relation to other people.
Why are we conscious? What does consciousness enable us to do that cannot be done by zombies in the dark? This paper argues that introspective consciousness probably co-evolved as a "spandrel" along with our more useful ability to represent the mental states of other people. The first part of the paper defines and motivates a conception of consciousness as a kind of "double vision" – the perception of how things seem to us as well as what they are – (...) along lines recently explored by Peter Carruthers. The second part explains the basic socioepistemic function of consciousness and suggests an evolutionary pathway to this cognitive capacity that begins with predators and prey. The third part discusses the relevance of these considerations to the traditional problem of otherminds. (shrink)
The problem of otherminds has widely been considered as a special problem within the debate about scepticism. If one cannot be sure that there is a world existing independently of one's mind, how can we be sure that there are minds - minds which we cannot even experience the way we experience material objects? This book shows, through a detailed examination of David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature, that these concerns are unfounded. By focusing (...) on Hume's discussion of sympathy - the ability to connect with the mental contents of other persons - Anik Waldow demonstrates that belief in otherminds can be justified by the same means as belief in material objects. The book thus not only provides the first large-scale treatment of the function of the belief in otherminds within the Treatise, thereby adding a new dimension to Hume's realism, but also serves as an invaluable guide to the complexity of the problem of otherminds and its various responses in contemporary debate. (shrink)
Quassim Cassam has recently defended a perceptual model of knowledge of otherminds: one on which we can see and thereby know that another thinks and feels. In the course of defending this model, he addresses issues about our ability to think about otherminds. I argue that his solution to this 'conceptual problem' does not work. A solution to the conceptual problem is necessary if we wish to explain knowledge of otherminds.
In contemporary Western analytic philosophy, the classic analogical argument explaining our knowledge of otherminds has been rejected. But at least three alternative positive theories of our knowledge of the second person have been formulated: the theory-theory, the simulation theory and the theory of direct empathy. After sketching out the problems faced by these accounts of the ego’s access to the contents of the mind of a “second ego”, this paper tries to recreate one argument given by Abhinavagupta (...) (Shaiva philosopher of recognition) to the effect that even in another’s body, one must feel and recognize one’s own self, if one is able to address that embodied person as a “you”. The otherness of You does not take away from its subjectivity. In that sense, just as every second person to whom one could speak is, first, a person, she is also a first person. Even as I regret that I do not know exactly how some other person is feeling right now, I must have some general access to the subjective experience of that other person, for otherwise what is it that I feel so painfully ignorant about? My subjective world is mine only to the extent that I recognize its continuity with a sharable subjective world where other I-s can make a You out of me. (shrink)
This paper discusses Wittgenstein's take on the problem of otherminds. In opposition to certain widespread views that I collect under the heading of the “No Problem Interpretation,” I argue that Wittgenstein does address some problem of otherminds. However, Wittgenstein's problem is not the traditional epistemological problem of otherminds; rather, it is more reminiscent of the issue of intersubjectivity as it emerges in the writings of phenomenologists such as Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, and Heidegger. (...) This is one sense in which Wittgenstein's perspective on otherminds might be called “phenomenological.” Yet there is another sense as well, in that Wittgenstein's positive views on this issue resemble the views defended by phenomenologists. The key to a proper philosophical grasp of intersubjectivity, on both views, lies in rethinking the mind. If we conceive of minds as essentially embodied we can understand how intersubjectivity is possible. (shrink)
The problem of otherminds is a collection of problems centering upon the extent to which our belief in otherminds or other's minds can be justified. Swedish psychologist, Gunnar Borg has developed a principle called "the range principle" which helps fill out our "knowledge" of otherminds. Borg developed this principle partly in response to the skeptical challenge of Harvard psychophysicist S S Stevens. Stevens claimed that the intersubjective comparison of experience (...) was scientifically impossible. Borg postulates that the range of individual experience is roughly identical for all individuals. We can test Borg's principle or theory is we include the similarity of physical range for individuals. We have an interesting case of experimental work casting light on a traditional philosophical problem. (shrink)
What is the relation between emotional experience and its behavioural expression? As very preliminary clarification, I mean by ‘emotional experience’ such things as the subjective feeling of being afraid of something, or of being angry at someone. On the side of behavioural expression, I focus on such things as cowering in fear, or shaking a fist or thumping the table in anger. Very crudely, this is behaviour intermediate between the bodily changes which just happen in emotional arousal, such as sweating (...) or the secretion of adrenalin, and reasoned actions done ‘out of an emotion’, such as breathing deeply to clam down, or writing a letter of complaint, for which a standard rationalizing explanation can be given.1 I pursue the relation between this experience and expression in a somewhat roundabout manner. First, I note an analogy between a problem of otherminds, and Berkeley’s (1975) challenge to Locke’s (1975) realism. Second, I sketch what I regard as the correct strategy for meeting this challenge. Third, I develop and defend a parallel response to the problem of otherminds, as this applies to certain basic directed emotions. This yields the following answer to my opening question. Reference to the appropriate expressive behaviour is essential to the identification of the way in which various emotional experiences present their worldly objects. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the issue of authenticity in Wittgenstein’s philosophy of psychology. In the manuscripts published as Letzte Schriften über die Philosophie der Psychologie – Das Innere und das Äußere, the German term Echtheit is mostly translated as ‘genuineness’. In these manuscripts, Wittgenstein frequently uses the term as referring to a feature of the expression of feeling and emotion: -/- […] I want to say that there is an original genuine expression of pain; that the expression of pain (...) therefore is not equally connected to the pain and to the pretence. (LW II, p. 55) -/- “This weeping gives the impression of being genuine” – so there is such a thing as genuine weeping. […]. (LW II, p. 87) -/- […] Genuineness and falseness are not the only essential characteristics of an expression of feeling. […]. (LW II, p. 90) -/- Wittgenstein contrasts the genuineness of the expressions with the possibility that the expressions are feigned. It seems to me that Wittgenstein is trying to discredit a specific version of the sceptical claim that we do not know otherminds. I will refer to it as the sceptical innuendo. The sceptical innuendo says that every expression of feeling and emotion may be pretended. Wittgenstein’s approach to the issue reflects his later interest in the philosophy of psychology and, in particular, the problem of the ascription of psychological states (P-ascriptions) on the basis of someone else’s expression of feeling or emotion. Thus, the attempt to reject the sceptical innuendo is done mainly by means of conceptual and psychological arguments. Let’s look at this short dialogue between the sceptic and Wittgenstein. The former asks „How do you know that someone else is in a certain psychological state?“ Wittgenstein’s first reply is „I know that he is glad because I see him“. But the sceptic cannot be very happy with this reply. The sceptic’s next question is: „How do you know that he is really glad and he is not pretending?“ Wittgenstein’s response is not a direct refutation but is composed of a number of related reasons. These may be summed up in three arguments: -/- (i) A psychological argument from the very nature of the expressions. The expressions are meant to be natural symptoms of someone else’s psychological state (P-state). -/- (ii) A conceptual argument about the nature of pretence. It claims that pretence is a psychological property which is rightly ascribed when an observer has evidence for it. -/- (iii) A psychological argument from genuineness. It claims that we are committed to accept people’s expressions of feeling and emotion as genuine. (shrink)
This article describes some of the main arguments for the existence of otherminds, and intersubjectivity more generally, that depend upon a transcendental justification. This means that our focus will be largely on ‘continental’ philosophy, not only because of the abiding interest in this tradition in thematising intersubjectivity, but also because transcendental reasoning is close to ubiquitous in continental philosophy. Neither point holds for analytic philosophy. As such, this essay will introduce some of the important contributions of Edmund (...) Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Karl-Otto Apel, all of whom use transcendental reasoning as a key part of their analyses of intersubjectivity, and we also consider the work of Peter Strawson who does likewise in the analytic tradition. (shrink)
While there is a great diversity of treatments of otherminds and inter-subjectivity within both analytic and continental philosophy, this article specifies some of the core structural differences between these treatments. Although there is no canonical account of the problem of otherminds that can be baldly stated and that is exhaustive of both traditions, the problem(s) of otherminds can be loosely defined in family resemblances terms. It seems to have: (1) an epistemological (...) dimension (How do we know that others exist? Can we justifiably claim to know that they do?); (2) an ontological dimension that incorporates issues having to do with personal identity (What is the structure of our world such that inter-subjectivity is possible? What are the fundamental aspects of our relations to others? How do they impact upon our self-identity?); and (3) A conceptual dimension in that it depends on one's answer to the question what is a mind (How does the mind – or the concept of 'mind'– relate to the brain, the body and the world?). While these three issues are co-imbricated, I will claim that analytic engagements with the problem of otherminds focus on (1), whereas continental philosophers focus far more on (2). In addition, this article will also point to various other downstream consequences of this, including the preoccupation with embodiment and forms of expressivism that feature heavily in various forms of continental philosophy, and which generally aim to ground our relations with others in a pre-reflective manner of inhabiting the world that is said to be the condition of reflection and knowledge. (shrink)
We resist Schilbach et al.’s characterization of the “social perception” approach to social cognition as a “spectator theory” of otherminds. We show how the social perception view acknowledges the crucial role interaction plays in enabling social understanding. We also highlight a dilemma Schilbach et al. face in attempting to distinguish their second person approach from the social perception view.
Paul Churchland characterizes the "epistemological problem" in philosophy of mind as the problem "concerned with how we come to have knowledge of the internal activities of conscious, intelligent minds." This problem is itself divided into two separate, but related problems: (1) the problem of self-consciousness -- that of determining how one comes to have knowledge of one's own mental states, and (2) the problem of otherminds -- that of explaining how one can ever come to know (...) that something other than oneself has a mind, i.e., is a thinking, feeling, conscious being. My primary aim is to examine and solve the problem of otherminds. However, since Churchland contends that the problem of otherminds is inextricably intertwined with the problem of self-consciousness, I examine this latter problem, as well. (shrink)
D. C. Long’s review of a monograph Godfrey Vesey prepared on the problem of our knowledge of otherminds for the Open University series on problems of philosophy. Vesey discusses philosophers’ disenchantment with the traditional argument from analogy as a solution to the problem. This has been fostered by Wittgensteinian objections to the idea that psychological words get their meaning by reference to our own “private” experiences. Vesey similarly argues for the thesis that a person cannot be said (...) to understand such words unless he or she understands both first—and other-person uses of the words. The role of “public” behavioral expression of psychological states is crucial to such understanding. P hilosophical skepticism about whether other human beings have minds is incoherent. (shrink)
Søren Overgaard's Wittgenstein and OtherMinds (WM) makes two interesting contributions to the Wittgenstein literature. First, it approaches contemporary debates about the problem of "otherminds" (WM 2) as a conceptual and ontological problem -- viz., how we conceive of mind in the first place (before turning to determinations concerning the minds of others). It also extends that question to ethics, since the way in which we pose the question of otherminds, or (...) subjects, frequently concerns what behaviors are appropriate to adopt in regard to those others. (shrink)
The present paper sets out to counter the claim put forward by British philosopher of mind, Robert Kirk, according to which Sartre's notion of consciousness as for-itself, while offering some valuable insights regarding human existence, nonetheless fails to engage with the problem of how to establish the existence of such conscious beings on philosophical grounds. To the extent that it succeeds in meeting the challenge raised by Kirk's comment, the reading of Being and Nothingness offered here could be considered as (...) fulfilling a twofold aim. Firstly, it offers an answer to the problem of otherminds which is construed on the basis of Sartre's ontological work, thus contributing to a still open debate in the scholarly literature devoted to Sartre's thought. Secondly, it illustrates one way in which a specific problem which is amply discussed among contemporary philosophers of mind could be tackled from within a conceptual framework rooted in the continental tradition of philosophy. (shrink)
From early modernity, philosophers have engaged in skeptical discussions concerning knowledge of the existence, state, and standing of otherminds. The analogical move from self to other unfolds as controversy. This paper reposes the problem as an argumentation predicament and examines analogy as an opening to the study of rhetorical cognition. Rhetorical cognition is identified as a productive process coming to terms with an other through testing sustainable risk. The paper explains how self-sustaining risk is theorized (...) by Aristotle’s virtue ethics in the polis. Moral hazard is identified as a threat to modern argument communities. (shrink)
The argument by analogy for otherminds is customarily rejected as a weak inference because the argument is based on a single instance. The current paper argues that this objection fundamentally misunderstands the inferential structure of analogies and so misrepresents the role analogy plays in the justifycation of belief in otherminds. Arguments by be uniquely suited to draw inferences from single instances. This defense does not remove all difficulties faced by the argument by analogy for (...)otherminds. (shrink)
In his paper "knowledge of otherminds" ("review of metaphysics", Volume ix, June, 1956, Pages 565-568), Nicholas karalis attempts to demonstrate that numerically identical acts of thought can occur in different minds. The cogency of his arguments is questioned. It is contended that some of them rest on a confusion between what is known and what is true.
The difficulties about otherminds are deep and of central philosophical importance. This text explores attempts to apply Wittgenstein's concept of criteria in explaining how we can know otherminds and their properties. It is shown that the use of criteria for this purpose is misguided.
In this article the author is concerned with the justification of the knowledge of otherminds by virtue of statements of other people's feelings based upon inductive arguments of any ordinary pattern as being inferences from the observed to the unobserved of a familiar and accepted form. The author argues that they are not logically peculiar or invalid, When considered as inductive arguments. The author also proposes that solipsism is a linguistically absurd thesis, While at the same (...) time stopping to explain why it is a thesis which tempts those who confuse epistemological distinctions with logical distinctions. (staff). (shrink)
We find it natural to say that creatures with minds can be understood ‘from the inside’. The paper explores what could be meant by this attractive but, on reflection, somewhat mysterious idea. It suggests that it may find a hospitable placement, which makes its content and appeal clearer, in one version of the so-called ‘simulation theory’ approach to grasp of psychological concepts. Simulation theory suggests that ability to use imagination in rethinking others’ thoughts and in recreating their trains of (...) reasoning is central to our grasp and use of psychological concepts.On this view to think of another’s mind is not to think of some intricate quasi-mechanical assemblage of items in the other’s head which causally explain her behavior. If this is all that the ‘inside’ of another person, i.e. her mind, were like, then there would be no question of anything being ‘from’ it. The simulation view, however, emphasizes that thoughts essentially have content and that identifying another’s thought, and working out its possible effects, involves identifying its content and oneself entertaining thoughts with the same content.So, on this approach, to think of another’s mind is to think of a complex but rationally unified set of thoughts, a set which is conceived as had by one subject but where the contents and relations can be grasped and appreciated by another. Some of these thoughts will be indexical and the whole can thus be said to constitute the subject’s point of view on the world, both literally and metaphorically. Grasping this point of view is, the paper suggests, what is meant by speaking of ‘understanding from the inside’. (shrink)
A well-known paradox of strict verificationism is this one. Suppose we distinguish between evidence-statements and statements for the truth or falsity of which evidence statements are support, and suppose we could not come to know the non-evidential statements except by knowing the truth of the evidential ones. We must say: what we know is after all some set of evidential statements, and what we mean when we assert the non-evidential statement is after all a set of evidential statements. But (...) the point of calling a set of evidential statements evidential is simply to draw the distinction between evidence and what it is evidence for. What was the initial contrast therefore, and how did we come to think of it as a contrast? If what I mean by S is what would normally be considered evidence for the truth of S , then it cannot be evidence for the truth of S. (shrink)
The main aim of this paper is to highlight the need to address the conceptual problem of “implicit knowledge” or “implicit cognition” —a notion especially important in the study of the nonverbal minds of animals and infants. We review some uses of the term ‘implicit’ in psychology and allied disciplines,and conclude that conceptual clarification of this notion is not only lacking, but largely avoided and reduced to a methodological problem. We propose that this elusive notion is central in the (...) study not only of animal and infant minds, but also the human adult mind. Some promising approaches in developmental and evolutionary psychology towards innovative conceptualisation of implicit knowledge remain conceptually underdeveloped and in need of reconsideration and re-elaboration. We conclude by suggesting that the challenge of implicit cognition and nonverbal minds will only be solved through a concerted interdisciplinary approach between psychology and other disciplines. (shrink)
The paper uses thompson clark's theory of the relation of perceptual parts and wholes to illuminate certain aspects of our knowledge of otherminds. The thesis is that the traditional problem can be usefully broken down into two parts--One of which calls for a better understanding of the logic of perceptual concepts; the other, For a closer look at what happens when we try to take the epistemological skeptic seriously.
This paper dispels the Cartesian reading of Augustine’s treatment of mind and otherminds by examining key passages from De Trinitate and De Civitate Dei. While Augustine does vigorously argue that mind is indubitable and immaterial, he disavows the fundamental thesis of the dualistic tradition: the separation of invisible spirit and visible body. The immediate self-awareness of mind includes awareness of life, that is, of animating a body. Each of us animates our own body; seeing other animated (...) bodies enables us to see other animating souls or minds. Augustine’s affirmation of animation lets us perceive that otherminds are present, but Descartes’ denial of animation renders others ineluctably absent. Augustine’s soul is no ghost, because his body is no machine. (shrink)
In this paper I defend the claim that testimony can serve as a basic source of knowledge of other people’s mental lives against the objection that testimonial knowledge presupposes knowledge of other people’s mental lives and therefore can’t be used to explain it.
A compelling new approach to the problem that has haunted twentieth century philosophy in both its analytical and continental shapes. No other book addresses as thoroughly the parallels between Wittgenstein and leading Continental philosophers such as Levinas, Husserl, and Heidegger.
In this paper I distinguish two ways of raising a sceptical problem of others' minds: via a problem concerning the possibility of error or via a problem concerning sources of knowledge. I give some reason to think that the second problem raises a more interesting problem in accounting for our knowledge of others’ minds and consider proposed solutions to the problem.