Universal belief-desire psychology? A dilemma for theory theory and simulation theory

Philosophical Psychology 26 (5):744-764 (2013)
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Abstract

In this article we take issue with theory theory and simulation theory accounts of folk psychology committed to (i) the belief-desire (BD) model and (ii) the assumption of universality (AU). Recent studies cast doubt on the compatibility of these commitments because they reveal considerable cross-cultural differences in folk psychologies. We present both theory theory and simulation theory with the following dilemma: either (i) keep the BD-model as an account of the surface properties of specific explicit folk psychologies and give up AU in light of the cross-cultural evidence; or (ii) defend AU with respect to core capacities underlying different culture-specific folk psychologies, and explain why the BD-model will be genuinely explanatory at this level

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