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  1. Introduction to Folk Psychology: Pluralistic Approaches.Kristin Andrews, Shannon Spaulding & Evan Westra - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):1685-1700.
    This introduction to the topical collection, Folk Psychology: Pluralistic Approaches reviews the origins and basic theoretical tenets of the framework of pluralistic folk psychology. It places special emphasis on pluralism about the variety folk psychological strategies that underlie behavioral prediction and explanation beyond belief-desire attribution, and on the diverse range of social goals that folk psychological reasoning supports beyond prediction and explanation. Pluralism is not presented as a single theory or model of social cognition, but rather as a big-tent research (...)
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  • Mindreading Beyond Belief: A More Comprehensive Conception of How We Understand Others.Shannon Spaulding - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (11):e12526.
    Traditional theories of mindreading tend to focus exclusively on attributing beliefs and desires to other agents. The literature emphasizes belief attribution in particular, with numerous debates over when children develop the concept of belief, how neurotypical adult humans attribute beliefs to others, whether non-human animals have the concept of belief, etc. I describe a growing school of thought that the heavy focus on belief leaves traditional theories of mindreading unable to account for the complexity, diversity, and messiness of ordinary social (...)
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  • Blame for Me and Not for Thee: Status Sensitivity and Moral Responsibility.Henry Argetsinger - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-18.
    In our day-to-day lives, we form responsibility judgements about one another – but we are imperfect beings, and our judgments can be mistaken. This paper suggests that we get things wrong not merely by chance, but predictably and systematically. In particular, these miscues are common when we are dealing with large gaps in social status and power. That is, when we form judgements about those who are much more or less socially powerful than ourselves, it is increasingly likely that “epistemic (...)
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  • Getting to Know You: Accuracy and Error in Judgments of Character.Evan Westra - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (5):583-600.
    Character judgments play an important role in our everyday lives. However, decades of empirical research on trait attribution suggest that the cognitive processes that generate these judgments are prone to a number of biases and cognitive distortions. This gives rise to a skeptical worry about the epistemic foundations of everyday characterological beliefs that has deeply disturbing and alienating consequences. In this paper, I argue that this skeptical worry is misplaced: under the appropriate informational conditions, our everyday character-trait judgments are in (...)
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  • Folk Psychology as a Theory.Ian Martin Ravenscroft - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Many philosophers and cognitive scientists claim that our everyday or "folk" understanding of mental states constitutes a theory of mind. That theory is widely called "folk psychology" (sometimes "commonsense" psychology). The terms in which folk psychology is couched are the familiar ones of "belief" and "desire", "hunger", "pain" and so forth. According to many theorists, folk psychology plays a central role in our capacity to predict and explain the behavior of ourselves and others. However, the nature and status of folk (...)
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  • In Defense of Pluralist Theory.Anika Fiebich - 2019 - Synthese 198 (7):6815-6834.
    In this article I defend pluralist theory against various objections. First, I argue that although traditional theories may also account for multiple ways to achieve social understanding, they still put some emphasis on one particular epistemic strategy. Pluralist theory, in contrast, rejects the so-called ‘default assumption’ that there is any primary or default method in social understanding. Second, I illustrate that pluralist theory needs to be distinguished from integration theory. On one hand, integration theory faces the difficulty of trying to (...)
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  • The Impact of Culture on Mindreading.Jane Suilin Lavelle - 2019 - Synthese 198 (7):6351-6374.
    The role of culture in shaping folk psychology and mindreading has been neglected in the philosophical literature. This paper shows that there are significant cultural differences in how psychological states are understood and used by drawing on Spaulding’s recent distinction between the ‘goals’ and ‘methods’ of mindreading to argue that the relations between these methods vary across cultures; and arguing that differences in folk psychology cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the cognitive architecture that facilitates our understanding of psychological states. (...)
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  • Street Smarts.Devin Sanchez Curry - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):161-180.
    A pluralistic approach to folk psychology must countenance the evaluative, regulatory, predictive, and explanatory roles played by attributions of intelligence in social practices across cultures. Building off of the work of the psychologist Robert Sternberg and the philosophers Gilbert Ryle and Daniel Dennett, I argue that a relativistic interpretivism best accounts for the many varieties of intelligence that emerge from folk discourse. To be intelligent is to be comparatively good at solving intellectual problems that an interpreter deems worth solving.
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  • Traits, Beliefs and Dispositions in a Pluralistic Folk Psychology.Harmen Ghijsen - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5395-5413.
    According to pluralistic folk psychology we make use of a variety of methods to predict and explain each other, only one of which makes use of attributing propositional attitudes. I discuss three related problems for this view: first, the prediction problem, according to which PFP’s methods of prediction only work if they also assume a tacit attribution of propositional attitudes; second, the interaction problem, according to which PFP cannot explain how its different methods of prediction and explanation can interact; and (...)
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  • How Beliefs Are Like Colors.Devin Sanchez Curry - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
    Teresa believes in God. Maggie’s wife believes that the Earth is flat, and also that Maggie should be home from work by now. Anouk—a cat—believes it is dinner time. This dissertation is about what believing is: it concerns what, exactly, ordinary people are attributing to Teresa, Maggie’s wife, and Anouk when affirming that they are believers. Part I distinguishes the attitudes of belief that people attribute to each other (and other animals) in ordinary life from the cognitive states of belief (...)
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  • Stereotypes, Theory of Mind, and the Action–Prediction Hierarchy.Evan Westra - 2019 - Synthese 196 (7):2821-2846.
    Both mindreading and stereotyping are forms of social cognition that play a pervasive role in our everyday lives, yet too little attention has been paid to the question of how these two processes are related. This paper offers a theory of the influence of stereotyping on mental-state attribution that draws on hierarchical predictive coding accounts of action prediction. It is argued that the key to understanding the relation between stereotyping and mindreading lies in the fact that stereotypes centrally involve character-trait (...)
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  • Pluralistická odpověď na otázku obsahu lidové psychologie.Matěj Dražil - 2021 - Pro-Fil 22 (1):1.
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  • Folk Personality Psychology: Mindreading and Mindshaping in Trait Attribution.Evan Westra - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):8213-8232.
    Character-trait attribution is an important component of everyday social cognition that has until recently received insufficient attention in traditional accounts of folk psychology. In this paper, I consider how the case of character-trait attribution fits into the debate between mindreading-based and broadly ‘pluralistic’ approaches to folk psychology. Contrary to the arguments of some pluralists, I argue that the evidence on trait understanding does not show that it is a distinct, non-mentalistic mode of folk-psychological reasoning, but rather suggests that traits are (...)
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  • When is Mindreading Accurate? A Commentary on Shannon Spaulding’s How We Understand Others: Philosophy and Social Cognition. [REVIEW]Evan Westra - 2020 - Philosophical Psychology 33 (6):868-882.
    In How We Understand Others: Philosophy and Social Cognition, Shannon Spaulding develops a novel account of social cognition with pessimistic implications for mindreading accuracy: according to Spaulding, mistakes in mentalizing are much more common than traditional theories of mindreading commonly assume. In this commentary, I push against Spaulding’s pessimism from two directions. First, I argue that a number of the heuristic mindreading strategies that Spaulding views as especially error prone might be quite reliable in practice. Second, I argue that current (...)
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  • Does Intraindividual Variability of Personality States Improve Perspective Taking? An Ecological Approach Integrating Personality and Social Cognition. [REVIEW]Richard Wundrack, Julia Prager, Eva Asselmann, Garret O'Connell & Jule Specht - 2018 - Journal of Intelligence 6:18.
    Research integrating cognitive abilities and personality has focused on the role of personality traits. We propose a theory on the role of intraindividual variability of personality states (hereafter state variability) on perspective taking, in particular, the ability to infer other peoples’ mental states. First, we review the relevant research on personality psychology and social cognition. Second, we propose two complementary routes by which state variability relates to anchoring and adjustment in perspective taking. The first route, termed ego-dispersion, suggests that an (...)
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