Folk psychology as mental simulation

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2017)
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Mindreading (or folk psychology, Theory of Mind, mentalizing) is the capacity to represent and reason about others’ mental states. The Simulation Theory (ST) is one of the main approaches to mindreading. ST draws on the common-sense idea that we represent and reason about others’ mental states by putting ourselves in their shoes. More precisely, we typically arrive at representing others’ mental states by simulating their mental states in our own mind. This entry offers a detailed analysis of ST, considers theoretical arguments and empirical data in favour of and against it, discusses its philosophical implications, and illustrates some alternatives to it.



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Robert Gordon
University of Missouri, St. Louis
Luca Barlassina
University of Sheffield

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