Traits, beliefs and dispositions in a pluralistic folk psychology

Synthese 198 (6):5395-5413 (2019)
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Abstract

According to pluralistic folk psychology (PFP) 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 (some of) 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 third, the difference problem, according to which PFP cannot explain how all of its methods are truly different if it also assumes a dispositionalist account of belief. I argue that a promising solution to these problems should not overestimate the importance and ubiquity of propositional attitude attribution even if the difference between propositional attitude attribution and other types of attribution is a matter of degree rather than kind. Instead, a solution should be sought in a better appreciation of the breadth of folk psychological theorizing and the way in which this can be incorporated into model theory.

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Harmen Ghijsen
Radboud University

Citations of this work

Interpersonal comparisons of well-being: Increasing convergence.Jelle de Boer - forthcoming - Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

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References found in this work

The Predictive Mind.Jakob Hohwy - 2013 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
Direct perception in the intersubjective context.Shaun Gallagher - 2008 - Consciousness and Cognition 17 (2):535-543.

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