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7.3b.1. The Nature of Folk Psychology (The Nature of Folk Psychology on PhilPapers)

See also:
Andrews, Kristin (online). It's in your nature: A pluralistic folk psychology.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: I suggest a pluralistic account of folk psychology according to which not all predictions or explanations rely on the attribution of mental states, and not all intentional actions are explained by mental states. This view of folk psychology is supported by research in developmental and social psychology. It is well known that people use personality traits to predict behavior. I argue that trait attribution is not shorthand for mental state attributions, since traits are not identical to beliefs or desires, and an understanding of belief or desire is not necessary for using trait attributions. In addition, we sometimes predict and explain behavior through appeal to personality traits that the target wouldn’t endorse, and so could not serve as the target’s reasons. I conclude by suggesting that our folk psychology includes the notion that some behavior is explained by personality traits–who the person is–rather than by beliefs and desires–what the person thinks. Consequences of this view for the debate between simulation theory and theory theory, as well as the debate on chimpanzee theory of mind are discussed
Andrews, Kristin (online). The functions of folk psychology.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The debates about the form of folk psychology and the potential eliminability of folk psychology rest on a particular view about how humans understand other minds. That is, though folk psychology is described as --œour commonsense conception of psychological phenomena--� (Churchland 1981, p. 67), there have been implicit assumptions regarding the nature of that commonsense conception. It has been assumed that folk psychology involves two practices, the prediction and explanation of behavior. And it has been assumed that one cognitive mechanism subsumes both these practices
Barker, John A. (2002). Computer modeling and the fate of folk psychology. Metaphilosophy 33 (1-2):30-48.   (Google | More links)
Bennett, Jonathan (1991). Folk-psychological explanations. In John D. Greenwood (ed.), The Future of Folk Psychology. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 5 | Annotation | Google)
Bermudez, Jose Luis (2003). The domain of folk psychology. In Anthony O'Hear (ed.), Minds and Persons. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Blackburn, Simon W. (1992). Theory, observation, and drama. Mind and Language 7 (1-2):187-203.   (Cited by 14 | Google | More links)
Bogdan, Radu J. (1997). Interpreting Minds: The Evolution of a Practice. MIT Press/Bradford Books.   (Cited by 44 | Google | More links)
Bogdan, Radu J. (ed.) (1991). Mind and Common Sense: Philosophical Essays on Commonsense Psychology. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 8 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The contributors to this volume examine current controversies about the importance of common sense psychology for our understanding of the human mind. Common sense provides a familiar and friendly psychological scheme by which to talk about the mind. Its categories (belief, desire, intention, consciousness, emotion, and so on) tend to portray the mind as quite different from the rest of nature, and thus irreducible to physical matters and its laws. In this volume a variety of positions on common sense psychology from critical to supportive, from exegetical to speculative, are represented. Among the questions posed are: Is common sense psychology an empirical theory, a body of analytic knowledge, a practice, or a strategy? If it is a legitimate enterprise can it be naturalized or not? If it is not legitimate can it be eliminated? Is its fate tied to our understanding of consciousness? Should we approach its concepts and generalizations from the standpoint of conceptual analysis or from the philosophy of science?
Bogdan, Radu J. (2003). Minding Minds: Evolving a Reflexive Mind by Interpreting Others. MIT Press.   (Cited by 36 | Google | More links)
Bogdan, Radu J. (1993). The architectural nonchalance of commonsense psychology. Mind and Language 8 (2):189-205.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Eliminativism assumes that commonsense psychology describes and explains the mind in terms of the internal design and operation of the mind. If this assumption is invalidated, so is eliminativism. The same conditional is true of intentional realism. Elsewhere (Bogdan 1991) I have argued against this 'folk- theory-theory' assumption by showing that commonsense psychology is not an empirical prototheory of the mind but a biosocially motivated practice of coding, utilizing, and sharing information from and about conspecifics. Here, without presupposing a specific analysis of commonsense psychology, I want to challenge a key implication of the 'folk-theory-theory' assumption to the effect that commonsense psychology is committed to a definite architecture of the mind
Botterill, George (1996). Folk psychology and theoretical status. In Peter Carruthers & Peter K. Smith (eds.), Theories of Theories of Mind. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 12 | Google)
Botterill, George (1989). Human nature and folk psychology in the person and the human mind: Issues. In Ancient and Modern Philosophy. New York: Clarendon Press.   (Google)
Braddon-Mitchell, David (2004). Folk theories of the third kind. Ratio 17 (3):277-293.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Braddon-Mitchell, David (1998). Metarepresentation. Mind and Language 13 (1):29-34.   (Google | More links)
Breheny, Richard (2006). Communication and folk psychology. Mind and Language 21 (1):74-107.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Prominent accounts of language use (those of Grice, Lewis, Stalnaker, Sperber and Wilson among others) have viewed basic communicative acts as essentially involving the attitudes of the participating agents. Developmental data poses a dilemma for these accounts, since it suggests children below age four are competent communicators but would lack the ability to conceptualise communication if philosophers and linguists are right about what communication is. This paper argues that this dilemma is quite serious and that these prominent accounts would be undermined if an adequate more minimal alternative were available. Just such a minimalist account of communication is offered, drawing on ideas from relevance theory and situation theory
Cantwell Smith, Brian (1996). Does science underwrite our folk psychology? In W. O'Donahue & Richard F. Kitchener (eds.), The Philosophy of Psychology. Sage Publications.   (Google)
Chater, Nick & Pickering, Martin J. (2003). Two realms of mental life: The non-overlap of belief ascription and the scientific study of mind and behavior. Facta Philosophica 5 (2):335-353.   (Google)
Churchland, Paul M. (1988). Folk psychology and the explanation of human behavior. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 62:209-21.   (Cited by 36 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Clark, Andy (1987). From folk psychology to naive psychology. Cognitive Science 11:139-54.   (Cited by 20 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Clark, Andy (1995). Is 'mind' a scientific kind? In Mind and Cognition. Taipei: Inst Euro-Amer Stud.   (Google)
Collins, John M. (2000). Theory of mind, logical form and eliminativism. Philosophical Psychology 13 (4):465-490.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
Abstract: I argue for a cognitive architecture in which folk psychology is supported by an interface of a ToM module and the language faculty, the latter providing the former with interpreted LF structures which form the content representations of ToM states. I show that LF structures satisfy a range of key features asked of contents. I confront this account of ToM with eliminativism and diagnose and combat the thought that "success" and innateness are inconsistent with the falsity of folk psychology. I show that, while my ensemble account of ToM and language refutes the culturalist presuppositions that tend to underlie eliminativist arguments, the falsity of folk psychology is consistent with the account
de bij Weg, Henk (2001). The commonsense conception and its relation to scientific theory. Philosophical Explorations 1 (1):17-30.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In studying what people do two points of view can be distinguished: We can choose the perspective of the actors themselves (the actor’s perspective), or we can look at what is going on from the outside, from a distance (the researcher’s perspective). Regarding the relation between both points of view three standpoints have been defended
Demeter, Tamás (2009). Folk Psychology Is Not a Metarepresentational Device. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 5 (2):19-38.   (Google)
Abstract: Here I challenge the philosophical consensus that we use folk psychology for the purposes of metarepresentation. The paper intends to show that folk psychology should not be conceived on par with fact-stating discourses in spite of what its surface semantics may suggest. I argue that folk-psychological discourse is organised in a way and has conceptual characteristics such that it cannot fulfill a fact-stating function. To support this claim I develop an open question argument for psychological interpretations, and I draw attention to the central role of rationality, the conceptual connections, and the essential evaluative content inherent in folk psychological ascriptions. As a conclusion I propose that a fictionalist account of the discourse would fit its characteristics better than a factualist-realist interpretation.
Dennett, Daniel C. (1991). Two contrasts: Folk craft vs folk science and belief vs opinion. In John D. Greenwood (ed.), The Future of Folk Psychology. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 13 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract: Let us begin with what all of us here agree on: folk psychology is not immune to revision. It has a certain vulnerability in principle. Any particular part of it might be overthrown and replaced by some other doctrine. Yet we disagree about how likely it is that that vulnerability in principle will turn into the actual demise of large portions--or all--of folk psychology. I am of the view that folk psychology is here for the long haul, and for some very good reasons. But I am not going to concentrate on that in my remarks. What nobody has bothered saying here yet, but is probably worth saying, is that for all of its blemishes, warts and perplexities, folk psychology is an extraordinarily powerful source of prediction. It is not just prodigiously powerful but remarkably easy for human beings to use. We are virtuoso exploiters of not so much a theory as a craft. That is, we might better call it a folk craft rather than a folk theory. The theory of folk psychology is the ideology about the craft, and there is lots of room, as anthropologists will remind us, for false ideology
Fletcher, G. (1995). The Scientific Credibility of Folk Psychology. Lawrence Erlbaum.   (Cited by 36 | Google)
Fletcher, G. (1995). Two uses of folk psychology: Implications for psychological science. Philosophical Psychology 8 (3):375-88.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Abstract: This article describes two uses of folk psychology in scientific psychology. Use 1 deals with the way in which folk theories and beliefs are imported into social psychological models on the basis that they exert causal influences on cognition or behavior (regardless of their validity or scientific usefulness). Use 2 describes the practice of mining elements from folk psychology for building an overarching psychological theory that goes beyond common sense (and assumes such elements are valid or scientifically useful). This distinction is then applied to both common practices within psychology and the philosophical arguments concerning the scientific validity of folk psychology. Adopting a social psychological perspective, I argue that (a) the two uses are often conflated in psychology with deleterious consequences; and (b) that the arguments for the elimination of folk psychology as a basis for scientific psychology presented by Churchland and others, are weakened by the failure to attend to this distinction
Gauker, Christopher (2003). Attitudes without psychology. Facta Philosophica 5 (2):239-56.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Gauker, Christopher (2005). The belief-desire law. Facta Philosophica 7.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Many philosophers hold that for various reasons there must be psychological laws governing beliefs and desires. One of the few serious examples that they offer is the _belief-desire law_, which states, roughly, that _ceteris paribus_ people do what they believe will satisfy their desires. This paper argues that, in fact, there is no such law. In particular, decision theory does not support the contention that there is such a law
Godfrey-Smith, Peter (2005). Folk psychology as a model. Philosopher's Imprint 5 (6):1-16.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Abstract: <b>1. Introduction</b> <b>2. One sense of "model"</b> <b>3. Folk psychology as a model</b> <b>4. Versions and construals</b> <b>5. Folk psychology in cognitive science and analytic philosophy</b>
Godfrey-Smith, Peter (2005). Folk psychology as a model. Philosophers' Imprint 5 (6):1-16.   (Google)
Abstract: I argue that everyday folk-psychological skill might best be explained in terms of the deployment of something like a model, in a specific sense drawn from recent philosophy of science. Theoretical models in this sense do not make definite commitments about the systems they are used to understand; they are employed with a particular kind of flexibility. This analysis is used to dissolve the eliminativism debate of the 1980s, and to transform a number of other questions about the status and role of folk psychology
Godfrey-Smith, Peter (2004). On folk psychology and mental representation. In Hugh Clapin (ed.), Representation in Mind. Elsevier.   (Cited by 5 | Google)
Abstract: into the old view of the mind as a kind of “ghost inside the machine.”
Goldman, A. (1993). The psychology of folk psychology. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16:15-28.   (Cited by 135 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract: The central mission of cognitive science is to reveal the real nature of the mind, however familiar or foreign that nature may be to naive preconceptions. The existence of naive conceptions is also important, however. Prescientific thought and language contain concepts of the mental, and these concepts deserve attention from cognitive science. Just as scientific psychology studies folk physics (McCloskey 1983, Hayes 1985), viz., the common understanding (or misunderstanding) of physical phenomena, so it must study folk psychology, the common understanding of mental states. This subfield of scientific psychology is what I mean by the phrase 'the psychology of folk psychology'
Gordon, Robert M. (online). Reason explanations and counterfactuals.   (Google)
Abstract: In evaluating conditionals concerning what a person would have done in counterfactual circumstances, we suppose the counterfactual antecedent to be true, just as in what I loosely term the standard "Ramsey" procedure; but then we follow a different path--a simulative path--in evaluating the consequent. The simulative path imposes an implicit restriction on possible worlds, a procedural guarantee that the individual simulated is aware of or knows about the counterfactual condition. This difference makes clear the way in which reason explanations are implicitly cognitive and psychological
Graham, George & Horgan, Terence E. (1988). How to be realistic about folk psychology. Philosophical Psychology 1 (1):69-81.   (Cited by 9 | Google)
Abstract: Folk psychological realism is the view that folk psychology is true and that people really do have propositional attitudes, whereas anti-realism is the view that folk psychology is false and people really do not have propositional attitudes. We argue that anti-realism is not worthy of acceptance and that realism is eminently worthy of acceptance. However, it is plainly epistemically possible to favor either of two forms of folk realism: scientific or non-scientific. We argue that non-scientific realism, while perhaps unpopular among philosophers of mind, is a distinct form of realism from scientific realism, and that it is not yet knowable whether scientific or non-scientific realism is true. We also outline how adopting realism, but remaining neutral between scientific and non-scientific realism, offers fresh insights into such topics as instrumentalism, supervenience, the language of thought hypothesis, and elimin-ativism
Graham, George (1987). The origins of folk psychology. Inquiry 30 (December):357-79.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Greenwood, John D. (ed.) (1991). The Future of Folk Psychology: Intentionality and Cognitive Science. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 31 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The essays in this volume are concerned with our everyday and developed scientific systems of explanation of human behavior in terms of beliefs, attitudes,...
Gruene-Yanoff, Till (online). Folk psychological realism without representational commitments - the measurement- theoretic account revisited.   (Google)
Abstract: Standardly, mental properties like beliefs, desires, fears, etc. are analysed as relations between the agent, to whom the predicate is ascribed, and a proposition, which is the intentional content of this property. According to this relational analysis, having a thought implies having its content present to the mind. This has wide-ranging philosophical implications, e.g. for the possibility of children and animals having intentional mental properties, or for the problem of knowing one’s own thoughts. Further, according to the relational analysis, the causal efficacy of mental properties must be in virtue of their content. This implies that folk-psychological explanations acquire a special status, for they employ mental properties as the explanans of behaviour. Mental properties can be conceived of as causally efficacious, and hence like standard scientific explanans, only if a satisfactory account is provided how they are causally efficacious in virtue of their semantic content. A successful account of this sort, I submit, does not exist as of yet; hence it seems, on the relational account, that folk psychological explanations are non-scientific, if they are explanations at all
Haldane, John J. (1988). Folk psychology and the explanation of human behaviour: Understanding folk. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 223:223-254.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Heal, Jane (2005). Joint Attention and Understanding the Mind. In N. Elian, Christoph Hoerl, Teresa McCormack & Johannes Roessler (eds.), Oxford University PressJoint Attention: Communication and Other Minds. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Herschbach, Mitchell (2008). False-belief understanding and the phenomenological critics of folk psychology. Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (12):33-56.   (Google)
Abstract: The dominant account of human social understanding is that we possess a 'folk psychology', that we understand and can interact with other people because we appreciate their mental states. Recently, however, philosophers from the phenomenological tradition have called into question the scope of the folk psychological account and argued for the importance of 'online', non-mentalistic forms of social understanding. In this paper I critically evaluate the arguments of these phenomenological critics, arguing that folk psychology plays a larger role in human social understanding than the critics suggest. First, I use standard false-belief tasks to spell out the commitments of the folk psychological picture. Next, I explicate the critics' account in terms of Michael Wheeler's distinction between online and offline intelligence. I then demonstrate the challenge that false-belief understanding -- a paradigm case of mental state understanding -- poses to the critics' online, non- mentalistic account. Recent research on false-belief understanding illustrates that mental state understanding comes in both online and offline forms. This challenges the critics' claim that our online social understanding does not require folk psychology
Heyes, Cecilia M. & Dickinson, Anthony (1995). Folk psychology won't go away: Response to Allen and Bekoff. Mind and Language 10 (4):329-332.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Hodgson, David (1994). Neuroscience and folk psychology: An overview. Journal of Consciousness Studies 1 (2):205-216.   (Cited by 5 | Google)
Horgan, Terence E. (1992). From cognitive science to folk psychology: Computation, mental representation, and belief. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (2):449-484.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Hutto, Daniel D. (1993). A tactical defense of folk psychology. Inside/Out.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Abstract: Folk psychology is under threat - that is to say - our everyday conception that human beings are agents who experience the world in terms of sights, sounds, tastes, smells and feelings and who deliberate, make plans, and generally execute actions on the basis of their beliefs, needs and wants - is under threat. This threat is evidenced in intellectual circles by the growing attitude amongst some cognitive scientists that our common sense categories are in competition with connectionist theories and modern neuroscience. It is often thought that either folk psychology or modern cognitive science must go. It is in these terms that the battle lines of today’s philosophy of mind are drawn
Hutto, Daniel D. (2004). The limits of spectatorial folk psychology. Mind and Language 19 (5):548-73.   (Cited by 22 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   It is almost universally agreed that the main business of commonsense psychology is that of providing generally reliable predictions and explanations of the actions of others. In line with this, it is also generally assumed that we are normally at theoretical remove from others such that we are always ascribing causally efficacious mental states to them for the purpose of prediction, explanation and control. Building on the work of those who regard our primary intersubjective interactions as a form of 'embodied practice', I defend a secondpersonal approach in this paper
Jackson, Frank (2000). Hornsby and Baker on the physicalist orthodoxy. Philosophical Explorations 3 (2):188-192.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Knowles, Jonathan (2001). Does intentional psychology need vindicating by cognitive science? Minds and Machines 11 (3):347-377.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   I argue that intentional psychology does not stand in need of vindication by a lower-level implementation theory from cognitive science, in particular the representational theory of mind (RTM), as most famously Jerry Fodor has argued. The stance of the paper is novel in that I claim this holds even if one, in line with Fodor, views intentional psychology as an empirical theory, and its theoretical posits as as real as those of other sciences. I consider four metaphysical arguments for the idea that intentional psychological states, such as beliefs, must be seen as requiring in-the-head mental representations for us to be able to understand their characteristic causal powers and argue that none of them validly generate their desired conclusions. I go on to argue that RTM, or some computational version thereof, is not motivated by appeal to the nature of cognitive science research either. I conclude that intentional psychology, though an empirical theory, is autonomous from details of lower level mechanism in a way that renders RTM unwarranted
Knobe, Joshua (ed.) (2007). Folk psychology: Science and morals. Springer.   (Google)
Abstract: It is widely agreed that folk psychology plays an important role in people’s moral judgments. For a simple example, take the process by which we determine whether or not an agent is morally blameworthy. Although the judgment here is ultimately a moral one, it seems that one needs to use a fair amount of folk psychology along the way. Thus, one might determine that an agent broke the vase intentionally and therefore conclude that she is blameworthy for breaking it. Here it seems that one starts out with a folkpsychological judgment (that the agent acted intentionally) and then uses it as input to a process that eventually yields a moral judgment (that the agent is blameworthy). Many other cases have a similar structure. In recent years, however, a number of studies have shown that there are also cases in which the arrow of causation goes in the opposite direction. That is, there appear to be cases in which people start out with a moral judgment and then use it as input to a process that eventually yields a folk-psychological judgment (Knobe 2003a, 2003b, 2004, 2005a, 2005b). These findings come as something of a surprise, and it can be difficult to know just what to make of them. My own view is that the findings are best explained by the hypothesis that moral considerations truly do play a role in people’s underlying folk-psychological concepts (Knobe 2003b, 2004, forthcoming). The key claim here is that the effects revealed in recent experiments are not the result of any kind of ‘bias’ or ‘distortion.’ Rather, moral considerations truly do figure in a fundamental way in the issues people are trying to resolve when they grapple with folk-psychological questions. I must confess, however, that not all researchers in the field share this view. Although many have been convinced that moral considerations actually do play a role in folk-psychological concepts, others have suggested that there might be better ways to account for the results of recent experiments..
Knowles, Jonathan (2002). Is folk psychology different? Erkenntnis 57 (2):199-230.   (Google | More links)
Abstract:   In this paper, I seek to refute arguments for the idea that folk psychological explanation, i.e., the explanation of actions, beliefs and desires in terms of one another, should be understood as being of a different character than ordinary scientific explanations, a view defended most prominently in analytical philosophy by Donald Davidson and John McDowell. My strategy involves arguing both against the extant arguments for the idea that FP must be construed as giving such explanations, and also against the very notion of such a different kind of explanation. I argue first that the in some sense a priori and conceptual nature of folk psychological principles does not support the idea that these are other than empirical generalisations, by appeal to recent nativist ideas in cognitive science and to Lewis's conception of the meaning of theoretical terms. Second, I argue that there is no coherent sense in which folk psychological explanations can be seen as normative. Thirdly, I examine the putatively holistic character of the mental and conclude that that too fails to provide any cogent reasons for viewing folk psychological explanations as different from other kinds of explanation
Knobe, Joshua (2007). Reason explanation in folk psychology. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):90–106.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Abstract: Consider the following explanation: (1) George took his umbrella because it was just about to rain. This is an explanation of a quite distinctive sort. It is profoundly different from the sort of explanation we might use to explain, say, the movements of a bouncing ball or the gradual rise of the tide on a beach. Unlike these other types of explanations, it explains an agent’s behavior by describing the agent’s own _reasons_ for performing that behavior. Explanations that work in this way have a number of distinctive and important properties, and we will refer to them here as _reason explanations_. Looking at the use of reason explanations with a philosophical eye, one is apt to experience a certain puzzlement. One wants to know precisely what makes a given reason explanation true or false. So, for example, the explanation given above seems to be saying that George’s reason for taking his umbrella was that it was just about to rain. But what exactly makes it the case that this is George’s reason? Does he have to actually be
Knobe, Joshua & Malle, Bertram (ms). Self and other in the explanation of behavior: 30 years later.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: It has been hypothesized that actors tend to attribute behavior to the situation whereas observers tend to attribute behavior to the person (Jones & Nisbett 1972). The authors argue that this simple hypothesis fails to capture the complexity of actual actor-observer differences in people’s behavioral explanations. A new framework is proposed in which reason explanations are distinguished from explanations that cite causes, especially stable traits. With this framework in place, it becomes possible to show that there are a number of distinct actorobserver asymmetries in explanation, each stemming from a distinct psychological process by which explanations are generated
Landy, David (2005). Inside doubt: On the non-identity of the theory of mind and propositional attitude psychology. Minds and Machines 15 (3-4):399-414.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Eliminative materialism is a popular view of the mind which holds that propositional attitudes, the typical units of our traditional understanding, are unsupported by modern connectionist psychology and neuroscience, and consequently that propositional attitudes are a poor scientific postulate, and do not exist. Since our traditional folk psychology employs propositional attitudes, the usual argument runs, it too represents a poor theory, and may in the future be replaced by a more successful neurologically grounded theory, resulting in a drastic improvement in our interpersonal relationships. I contend that these eliminativist arguments typically run together two distinct capacities: the folk psychological mechanisms which we use to understand one another, and scientific and philosophical guesses about the structure of those understandings. Both capacities are ontologically committed and therefore empirical. However, the commitments whose prospects look so dismal to the eliminativist, in particular the causal and logical image of propositional attitudes, belong to the guesses, and not necessarily to the underlying mechanisms. It is the commitments of traditional philosophical perspectives about the operation of our folk psychology which are contradicted by?new evidence and modeling methods in connectionist psychology. Our actual folk psychology was not clearly committed to causal, sentential propositional attitudes, and thus is not directly threatened by connectionist psychology
Leon, Mark . (1998). The unnaturalness of the mental: The status of folk psychology. Southern Journal of Philosophy 36 (3):367-92.   (Google)
Luis Bermúdez, José (2001). The domain of folk psychology. In Anthony O'Hear (ed.), Minds and Persons. Cambridge University Press.   (Google)
Lycan, William G. (1997). Folk psychology and its liabilities. In Martin Carrier & Peter K. Machamer (eds.), Mindscapes: Philosophy, Science, and the Mind. Pittsburgh University Press.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Machery, Edouard (2006). The folk concept of intentional action: Philosophical and experimental issues. Mind and Language 23 (2):165–189.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Abstract: ? Thanks for helpful comments to Gregory Currie, Josh Knobe, Ron Mallon, Thomas Nadelhoffer, Shaun Nichols, Steve Stich, Liane Young, the readers of the blog Experimental Philosophy ( as well as two anonymous reviewers. Thanks also to my research assistant on this project, Julie Sokolow, for her help and her comments
Macdonald, C. (2002). Theories of mind and 'the commonsense view'. Mind and Language 17 (5):467-488.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Malle, Bertram F. (2004). How the Mind Explains Behavior: Folk Explanations, Meaning, and Social Interaction. MIT Press.   (Cited by 21 | Google | More links)
Abstract: In this provocative monograph, Bertram Malle describes behavior explanations as having a dual nature -- as being both cognitive and social acts -- and proposes...
Margolis, Joseph (1991). The autonomy of folk psychology. In John D. Greenwood (ed.), The Future of Folk Psychology. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
McDonough, Richard M. (1991). A culturalist account of folk psychology. In John D. Greenwood (ed.), The Future of Folk Psychology. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 7 | Google)
Mills, Stephen L. (1998). Is there only one folk psychology? Acta Analytica 20 (20):25-41.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Millar, Alan (2004). Understanding People: Normativity and Rationalizing Explanation. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 8 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Alan Millar examines our understanding of why people think and act as they do. His key theme is that normative considerations form an indispensable part of the explanatory framework in terms of which we seek to understand each other. Millar defends a conception according to which normativity is linked to reasons. On this basis he examines the structure of certain normative commitments incurred by having propositional attitudes. Controversially, he argues that ascriptions of beliefs and intentions in and of themselves attribute normative commitments and that this has implications for the psychology of believing and intending. Indeed, all propositional attitudes of the sort we ascribe to people have a normative dimension, since possessing the concepts that the attitudes implicate is of its very nature commitment-incurring. The ramifications of these views for our understanding of people is explored. Millar offers illuminating discussions of reasons for belief and reasons for action; the explanation of beliefs and actions in terms of the subject's reasons; the idea that simulation has a key role in understanding people; and the limits of explanation in terms of propositional attitudes. He compares and contrasts the commitments incurred by propositional attitudes with those incurred by participating in practices, arguing that the former should not be assimilated to the latter. Understanding People will be of great interest to most philosophers of mind, as well as to those working on practical and theoretical reasoning
Morton, Adam (1980). Frames of Mind: Constraints On The Common-Sense Conception Of The Mental. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 43 | Google)
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Morton, Adam (1991). The inevitability of folk psychology. In R. Bogdan (ed.), Mind and Common Sense. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Morton, Adam (2003). The Importance of Being Understood: Folk Psychology As Ethics. New York: Routledge.   (Cited by 18 | Google)
Abstract: The Importance of Being Understood argues for an alternative to traditional accounts in contemporary philosophy of the power of folk psychology to explain our...
Nichols, Shaun & Stich, Stephen P. (1994). Folk psychology. Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: For the last 25 years discussions and debates about commonsense psychology (or “folk psychology,” as it is often called) have been center stage in the philosophy of mind. There have been heated disagreements both about what folk psychology is and about how it is related to the scientific understanding of the mind/brain that is emerging in psychology and the neurosciences. In this chapter we will begin by explaining why folk psychology plays such an important role in the philosophy of mind. Doing that will require a quick look at a bit of the history of philosophical discussions about the mind. We’ll then turn our attention to the lively contemporary discussions aimed at clarifying the philosophical role that folk psychology is expected to play and at using findings in the cognitive sciences to get a clearer understanding of the exact nature of folk psychology
Nudds, Matthew (2001). Common-sense and scientific psychology. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 1 (2):171-180.   (Google)
O'Brien, Gerard (1993). A conflation of folk psychologies. Prospects for Intentionality Working Papers in Philosophy 3:42-51.   (Google)
Abstract: Stich begins his paper "What is a Theory of Mental Representation?" (1992) by noting that while there is a dizzying range of theories of mental representation in today's philosophical market place, there is very little self-conscious reflection about what a theory of mental representation is supposed to do. This is quite remarkable, he thinks, because if we bother to engage in such reflection, some very surprising conclusions begin to emerge. The most surprising conclusion of all, according to Stich, is that most of the philosophers in this field are undertaking work that is quite futile:
It is my contention that most of the players in this very crowded field have _no_ coherent project
that could possibly be pursued successfully with the methods they are using. (p.244)
Stich readily admits that this is a startling conclusion; so startling, he thinks, that some may even take it as an indication that he has simply "failed to figure out what those who are searching for a theory of mental representation are up to" (p.244). But it is a conclusion that he is willing to stand by, and he sets about it defending it in the body of his paper
Ohreen, David E. (2004). The Scope and Limits of Folk Psychology: A Socio-Linguistic Approach. New York: Peter Lang.   (Google)
Ohreen, David (2007). Why Folk Psychology Is Not Universal. Facta Philosophica 9 (1):55-78.   (Google)
Pettit, Philip (2000). How the folk understand folk psychology. Protosociology 14:26-38.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Place, Ullin T. (1996). Folk psychology from the standpoint of conceptual analysis. In W. O'Donahue & Richard F. Kitchener (eds.), The Philosophy of Psychology. Sage Publications.   (Google)
Pratt, Ian (1996). Encoding psychological knowledge. In Peter Millican & A. Clark (eds.), Machines and Thought. Oxford University Press.   (Google | More links)
Preston, John M. (1989). Folk psychology as theory or practice? The case for eliminative materialism. Inquiry 32 (September):277-303.   (Cited by 3 | Annotation | Google)
Pust, Joel (1999). External accounts of folk psychology, eliminativism, and the simulation theory. Mind and Language 14 (1):113-130.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Ratcliffe, Matthew (2006). "Folk psychology" is not folk psychology. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 5 (1):31-52.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper disputes the claim that our understanding of others is enabled by a commonsense or ‘folk’ psychology, whose ‘core’ involves the attribution of intentional states in order to predict and explain behaviour. I argue that interpersonal understanding is seldom, if ever, a matter of two people assigning intentional states to each other but emerges out of a context of interaction between them. Self and other form a coupled system rather than two wholly separate entities equipped with an internalised capacity to assign mental states to the other. This applies even in those instances where one might seem to adopt a ‘detached’ perspective towards others. Thus ‘folk psychology’, as commonly construed, is not folk psychology
Robinson, William S. (1996). Mild realism, causation, and folk psychology. Philosophical Psychology 8 (2):167-87.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Abstract: Daniel Dennett (1991) has advanced a mild realism in which beliefs are described as patterns “discernible in agents' (observable) behavior” (p. 30). I clarify the conflict between this otherwise attractive theory and the strong realist view that beliefs are internal states that cause actions. Support for strong realism is sometimes derived from the assumption that the everyday psychology of the folk is committed to it. My main thesis here is that we have sufficient reason neither for strong realism nor for the supporting assumption about the commitments of folk psychology. Several generally implicit arguments in support of the latter assumption are considered. Explicit arguments for it by Ramsey et al. (1990) and Wellman (1990) are examined and judged unsuccessful. An explicit argument for strong realism by Cummins (in conversation) is also found inadequate. Consideration of this latter argument helps to explain why we cannot be satisfied with Dennett's own very brief discussion of causation by beliefs
Baker, Lynne Rudder (1999). Folk psychology. In Rob Wilson & Frank Keil (eds.), MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. MIT Press.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Abstract: In recent years, folk psychology has become a topic of debate not just among philosophers, but among development psychologists and primatologists as well
Baker, Lynne Rudder (1999). What is this thing called 'commonsense psychology'? Philosophical Explorations 2 (1):3-19.   (Cited by 9 | Google | More links)
Abstract: What is this thing called ‘Commonsense Psychology’? The first matter to settle is what the issue is here. By ‘commonsense psychology,’ I mean primarily the systems of describing, explaining and predicting human thought and action in terms of beliefs, desires, hopes, fears, expectations, intentions and other so-called propositional attitudes. Although commonsense psychology encompasses more than propositional attitudes--e.g., emotions, traits and abilities are also within its purview--belief-desire reasoning forms the core of commonsense psychology. Commonsense psychology is what we use to explain intentional action as ordinarily described--e.g., Jack went to the store because he wanted some ice cream. Commonsense psychology also is used to explain mental states--e.g., Jill feared that she would be late because she thought that the meeting began at 4:00. Commonsense psychology is the province of everyone; we all use it all the time
Scott-Kakures, Dion (1995). Erstwhile vindicationism. American Philosophical Quarterly 32 (3):205-223.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Sehon, Scott R. (1997). Natural kind terms and the status of folk psychology. American Philosophical Quarterly 34 (3):333-44.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Sehon, Scott R. (2005). Teleological Realism: Mind, Agency, and Explanation. Cambridge MA: Bradford Book/MIT Press.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Sharlow, Mark (online). As true as "you think": Preserving the core of folk psychology.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In this paper I argue in defense of an important fragment of folk psychology. Specifically, I argue that many propositions about the ontology of mental states and about mental causation are true largely because of certain observable features of human linguistic behavior. I conclude that these propositions are immune to common avenues of eliminativist criticism. I compare and contrast this argument with some previous arguments about the truth of folk psychology
Sharpe, R. A. (1987). The very idea of a folk psychology. Inquiry 30 (December):381-93.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Sifferd, Katrina L. (forthcoming). Translating Scientific Evidence into the Language of the ‘Folk’: Executive Function as Capacity-Responsibility. In Nicole A. Vincent (ed.), Legal Responsibility and Neuroscience. OUP.   (Google)
Abstract: There are legitimate worries about gaps between scientific evidence of brain states and function (for example, as evidenced by fMRI data) and legal criteria for determining criminal culpability. In this paper I argue that behavioral evidence of capacity, motive and intent appears easier for judges and juries to use for purposes of determining criminal liability because such evidence triggers the application of commonsense psychological (CSP) concepts that guide and structure criminal responsibility. In contrast, scientific evidence of neurological processes and function – such as evidence that the defendant has a large brain tumor – will not generally lead a judge or jury to directly infer anything that is relevant to the legal determination of criminal culpability . (Vincent 2008) In these cases, an expert witness will be required to indicate to the fact-finder what this evidence means with regard to mental capacity; and then another inference will have to be made from this possible lack of capacity to the legal criteria for guilt, cast in CSP terms.

To reliably link evidence of brain function and structure and assessment of criminal responsibility, we need to re-conceptualize the mental capacities necessary for responsibility, particularly those that are recognized as missing or compromised by the doctrines of “legal capacity” (Hart 1968) and “diminished capacity.” I argue that formulating these capacities as executive functions within the brain can provide this link. I further claim that it would be extremely useful to consider evidence of executive function as related to the diminished capacity doctrine at sentencing. This is because it is primarily at this stage in criminal proceedings where the use of the diminished capacity doctrine is most prevalent, as evidenced by the recent Supreme Court cases of Atkins v. Virginia (536 U.S. 304 (2002)) and Roper v. Simmons (543 U.S. 551 (2005)).
Stemmer, Nathan (1995). A behaviorist account to theory and simulation theories of folk psychology. Behavior and Philosophy 23 (1):29-41.   (Google)
Sterelny, Kim (1998). Intentional agency and the metarepresentation hypothesis. Mind and Language 13 (1):11-28.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Stich, Stephen P. (1991). Causal holism and commonsense psychology: A reply to O'Brien. Philosophical Psychology 4 (2):179-181.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Stich, Stephen P. (1983). From Folk Psychology to Cognitive Science. MIT Press.   (Cited by 570 | Annotation | Google)
Stich, Stephen P. & Nichols, Shaun (2002). Folk psychology. In Stephen P. Stich & Ted A. Warfield (eds.), Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell.   (Cited by 92 | Google | More links)
Abstract: For the last 25 years discussions and debates about commonsense psychology (or “folk psychology,” as it is often called) have been center stage in the philosophy of mind. There have been heated disagreements both about what folk psychology is and about how it is related to the scientific understanding of the mind/brain that is emerging in psychology and the neurosciences. In this chapter we will begin by explaining why folk psychology plays such an important role in the philosophy of mind. Doing that will require a quick look at a bit of the history of philosophical discussions about the mind. We’ll then turn our attention to the lively contemporary discussions aimed at clarifying the philosophical role that folk psychology is expected to play and at using findings in the cognitive sciences to get a clearer understanding of the exact nature of folk psychology
Stich, Stephen P. & Ravenscroft, R. (1994). What is folk psychology? Cognition 50:447-68.   (Cited by 39 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract: For the last two decades a doctrine called ‘‘eliminative materialism’’ (or sometimes just ‘‘eliminativism’’) has been a major focus of discussion in the philosophy of mind. It is easy to understand why eliminativism has attracted so much attention, for it is hard to imagine a more radical and provocative doctrine. What eliminativism claims is that the intentional states and processes that are alluded to in our everyday descriptions and explanations of people’s mental lives and their actions are _myths_. Like the gods that Homer invoked to explain the outcome of battles, or the witches that Inquisitors invoked to explain local catastrophes, they _do not exist_. According to eliminativists, there are no such things as beliefs or desires or hopes or fears or thoughts. These putative states and processes are the badly misguided posits of a seriously mistaken theory, just like phlogiston and caloric fluid and the luminiferous ether.1
Tanney, Julia (ms). Ordinary language and commonsense psychology.   (Google)
Von Eckardt, Barbara (1997). The empirical naivete in the current philosophical conception of folk psychology. In Martin Carrier & Peter K. Machamer (eds.), Mindscapes: Philosophy, Science, and the Mind. Pittsburgh University Press.   (Cited by 6 | Google)
Weatherall, P. (1996). What do propositions measure in folk psychology? Philosophical Psychology 9 (3):365-80.   (Google)
Abstract: In this paper I examine the analogical argument that the use that is made of propositions in folk psychology in the characterisation of propositional attitudes is no more puzzling than the use that is made of numbers in the physical sciences in the measurement of physical properties. It has been argued that the result of this analogy is that there is no need to postulate the existence of sentences in a language of thought which underpin the propositional characterisation of propositional attitudes in order to provide a naturalistic account of their use. I argue that a closer examination of the analogy implies rather than avoids the existence of structured representations constituting a language of thought, and thus that it should be abandoned by those who wish to avoid the postulation of such internal representations
Wilkes, Kathleen V. (1984). Pragmatics in science and theory in common sense. Inquiry 27 (December):339-61.   (Cited by 9 | Google)
Wilkes, Kathleen V. (1991). The long past and the short history. In R. Bogdan (ed.), Mind and Common Sense. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 1 | Annotation | Google)
Wilkes, Kathleen V. (1991). The relationship between scientific psychology and common-sense psychology. Synthese 89 (October):15-39.   (Cited by 11 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract:   This paper explores the relationship between common-sense psychology (CSP) and scientific psychology (SP) — which we could call the mind-mind problem. CSP has come under much attack recently, most of which is thought to be unjust or misguided. This paper's first section examines the many differences between the aims, interests, explananda, explanantia, methodology, conceptual frameworks, and relationships to the neurosciences, that divide CSP and SP. Each of the two is valid within its own territory, and there is no competition between them — primarily because CSP is not, and has no interest in being, a scientific theory. In the second section some implications are drawn. First, neither CSP nor SP has the mind-body problem in its familiar form. Second, CSP, for excellent reasons, is not equipped to handle irrational or non-rational behaviour; there are some grounds for believing that this can and should be the task of SP. Third, philosophical psychology, or armchair theories of action, perception, etc., are doomed to failure. And, fourth, the realm of the psychological is so heterogeneous that no single model for either CSP or SP is likely to succeed
Wringe, Bill (2002). Is folk psychology a Lakatosian research program? Philosophical Psychology 15 (3):343-358.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: It has often been argued, by philosophers and more recently by developmental psychologists, that our common-sense conception of the mind should be regarded as a scientific theory. However, those who advance this view rarely say much about what they take a scientific theory to be. In this paper, I look at one specific proposal as to how we should interpret the theory view of folk psychology--namely, by seeing it as having a structure analogous to that of a Lakatosian research program. I argue that although the Lakatosian model may seem promising--particularly to those who are interested in studying the development of children's understanding of the mind--the analogy between Lakatosian research programs and folk psychology cannot be made good because folk psychology does not possess anything analogous to the positive heuristic of a Lakatosian research program. I also argue that Lakatos' account of theories may not be the best one for developmental psychologists to adopt because of the emphasis which Lakatos places on the social embeddedness of scientific theorising