Javascript Menu by
MindPapers is now part of PhilPapers: online research in philosophy, a new service with many more features.
 Compiled by David Chalmers (Editor) & David Bourget (Assistant Editor), Australian National University. Submit an entry.
click here for help on how to search

7.3b.2. The Theory Theory (The Theory Theory on PhilPapers)

See also:
Bishop, Michael A. (2002). The theory theory thrice over: The child as scientist, superscientist, or social institution? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 33 (1):121-36.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Alison Gopnik and Andrew Meltzoff have argued for a view they call the ‘theory theory’: theory change in science and children are similar. While their version of the theory theory has been criticized for depending on a number of disputed claims, we argue that there is a fundamental problem which is much more basic: the theory theory is multiply ambiguous. We show that it might be claiming that a similarity holds between theory change in children and (i) individual scientists, (ii) a rational reconstruction of a Superscientist, or (iii) the scientific community. We argue that (i) is false, (ii) is non-empirical (which is problematic since the theory theory is supposed to be a bold empirical hypothesis), and (iii) is either false or doesn’t make enough sense to have a truth-value. We conclude that the theory theory is an interesting failure. Its failure points the way to a full, empirical picture of scientific development, one that marries a concern with the social dynamics of science to a psychological theory of scientific cognition.  2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved
Bostrom, Nick (online). Cortical integration: Possible solutions to the binding and linking problems in perception, reasoning and long term memory.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Abstract: The problem of cortical integration is described and various proposed solutions, including grandmother cells, cell assemblies, feed-forward structures, RAAM and synchronization, are reviewed. One method, involving complex attractors, that has received little attention in the literature, is explained and developed. I call this binding through annexation. A simulation study is then presented which suggests ways in which complex attractors could underlie our capacity to reason. The paper ends with a discussion of the efficiency and biological plausibility of the proposals as integration mechanisms for different regions and functions of the brain
DeVries, Willem (2006). Folk psychology, theories, and the Sellarsian roots. In Michael P. Wolf (ed.), The Self-Correcting Enterprise: Essays on Wilfrid Sellars (Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, Volume 9. Rodopi.   (Google)
Downes, Stephen M. (1999). Can scientific development and children's cognitive development be the same process? Philosophy of Science 66 (4):565-578.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Fine, A. (1996). Science as child's play: Tales from the crib. Philosophy of Science 63 (4):534-37.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
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
Glennan, Stuart S. (2005). The modeler in the crib. Philosophical Explorations 8 (3):217-227.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: A number of developmental psychologists have argued for a theory they call the theory theory - a theory of cognitive development that suggests that infants and small children make sense of their world by constructing cognitive representations that have many of the attributes of scientific theories. In this paper I argue that there are indeed close parallels between the activities of children and scientists, but that these parallels will be better understood if one recognizes that both scientists and children are not so much theorists as model builders
Glymour, C. (2000). Android epistemology for babies. Synthese 122 (1-2):53-68.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: _Words_, _Thoughts and Theories _argues that infants and children discover the physical and psychological features of the world by a process akin to scientific inquiry, more or less as conceived by philosophers of science in the 1960s (the theory theory). This essay discusses some of the philosophical background to an alternative, more popular, “modular” or “maturational” account of development, dismisses an array of philosoph- ical objections to the theory theory, suggests that the theory theory offers an undeveloped project for artificial intelligence, and, relying on recent psychological work on causation, offers suggestions about how principles of causal inference may provide a developmental solution to the “frame problem”
Gopnik, Alison (1990). Developing the idea of intentionality: Children's theories of mind. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 20 (1):89-114.   (Cited by 9 | Annotation | Google)
Gopnik, Alison (1997). The scientist as child. Philosophy of Science 63 (4):485-514.   (Cited by 42 | Google | More links)
Gopnik, Alison (2003). The theory theory as an alternative to the innateness hypothesis. In Louise M. Antony (ed.), Chomsky and His Critics. Blackwell.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Gopnik, Alison & Meltzoff, Andrew N. (1998). Theories vs. modules: To the Max and beyond: A reply to poulin-Dubois and to Stich and Nichols. Mind and Language 13 (3):450-456.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Gopnik, Alison & Wellman, H. M. (1992). Why the child's theory of mind really is a theory. Mind and Language 7 (1-2):145-71.   (Cited by 210 | Google | More links)
Gordon, Robert M. (2000). Sellars's Rylean ancestors revisited. Protosociology 14:102-114.   (Google)
Greenwood, John D. (2007). Unnatural epistemology. Mind and Language 22 (2):132-149.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: ‘Naturalized’ philosophers of mind regularly appeal to the empirical psychological literature in support of the ‘theory-theory’ account of the natural epistemology of mental state ascription (to self and others). It is argued that such appeals are not philosophically neutral, but in fact presuppose the theory-theory account of mental state ascription. It is suggested that a possible explanation of the popularity of the theory-theory account is that it is generally assumed that alternative accounts in terms of introspection (and simulation) presuppose a discredited ‘inner ostensive definition’ account of the meaning of mental state terms. However, the inner ostensive definition account is not the only alternative to the theory-theory account of the meaning of mental state terms, and commitment to a theory-theory account of the meaning of mental state terms does not mandate commitment to a theory-theory account of the epistemology of mental state ascription
Herschbach, Mitchell (2008). Folk psychological and phenomenological accounts of social perception. Philosophical Explorations 11 (3):223 – 235.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Theory theory and simulation theory share the assumption that mental states are unobservable, such that mental state attribution requires an extra psychological step beyond perception. Phenomenologists deny this, contending that we can directly perceive people's mental states. Here I evaluate objections to theory theory and simulation theory as accounts of everyday social perception offered by Dan Zahavi and Shaun Gallagher. I agree that their phenomenological claims have bite at the personal level, distinguishing direct social perception from conscious theorizing and simulation. Their appeals to phenomenology and other arguments do not, however, rule out theory theory or simulation theory as accounts of the sub-personal processes underlying social perception. While I here remain uncommitted about the plausibility of sub-personal theorizing and simulation, I argue that phenomenologists must do more in order to reject these accounts
Jackson, Frank (2000). Psychological explanation and implicit theory. Philosophical Explorations 3 (1):83-95.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: I offer an account of the relation between explanations of behaviour in terms of psychological states and explanations in terms of neural states that: makes it transparent how they can be true together; explains why explanations in terms of psychological states are characteristically of behaviour described in general and relational terms, and explains why certain sorts of neurological investigations undermine psychological explanations of behaviour, while others leave them intact. In the course of the argument, I offer an account of implicit theories
Jusczyk P. W., ; Johnson S. P., ; Spelke E. S., & Kennedy L. J., (1999). Synchronous change and perception of object unity: Evidence from adults and infants. Cognition 71 (3):257-288.   (Cited by 29 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Adults and infants display a robust ability to perceive the unity of a center-occluded object when the visible ends of the object undergo common motion (e.g. Kellman, P.J., Spelke, E.S., 1983. Perception of partly occluded objects in infancy. Cognitive Psychology 15, 483±524). Ecologically oriented accounts of this ability focus on the primacy of motion in the perception of segregated objects, but Gestalt theory suggests a broader possibility: observers may perceive object unity by detecting patterns of synchronous change, of which common motion is a special case. We investigated this possibility with observations of adults and 4-month-old infants. Participants viewed a center-occluded object whose visible surfaces were either misaligned or aligned, stationary or moving, and unchanging or synchronously changing in color or bright- ness in various temporal patterns (e.g. ¯ashing). Both alignment and common motion con- tributed to adults' perception of object unity, but synchronous color changes did not. For infants, motion was an important determinant of object unity, but other synchronous changes and edge alignment were not. When a stationary object with aligned edges underwent syn- chronous changes in color or brightness, infants showed high levels of attention to the object, but their perception of its unity appeared to be indeterminate. An inherent preference for fast over slow ¯ash rates, and a novelty preference elicited by a change in rate, both indicated that infants detected the synchronous changes, although they failed to use them as information for object unity. These ®ndings favor ecologically oriented accounts of object perception in which surface motion plays a privileged role. Ó 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved
Leslie, Alan M. & German, T. P. (1995). Knowledge and ability in "theory of mind": A one-eyed overview of a debate. In Martin Davies & Tony Stone (eds.), Mental Simulation. Blackwell.   (Cited by 18 | Google)
Levin, Janet (2001). The myth of Jones and the return of subjectivity. Mind and Language 16 (2):173-192.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Lewis, David (1972). Psychophysical and theoretical identifications. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 50 (December):249-58.   (Cited by 225 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Maibom, Heidi Lene (2003). The mindreader and the scientist. Mind and Language 18 (3):296-315.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Among theory theorists, it is commonly thought that folk psychological theory is tacitly known. However, folk psychological knowledge has none of the central features of tacit knowledge. But if it is ordinary knowledge, why is it that we have difficulties expressing anything but a handful of folk psychological generalisations? The reason is that our knowledge is of theoretical models and hypotheses, not of universal generalisations. Adopting this alternative view of (scientific) theories, we come to see that, given time and reflection, we can say what we know
Nazer, Daniel; Ruby, Aaron; Nichols, Shaun; Weinberg, Jonathan; Stich, Stephen; Faucher, Luc & Mallon, Ron (2002). The baby in the lab-coat: Why child development is not an adequate model for understanding the development of science. In P. Carruthers, S. Stich & M. Siegal (eds.), The Cognitive Basis of Science. Cambridge University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: Alison Gopnik and her collaborators have recently proposed a bold and intriguing hypothesis about the relationship between scientific cognition and cognitive development in childhood. According to this view, the processes underlying cognitive development in infants and children and the processes underlying scientific cognition are _identical_. We argue that Gopnik’s bold hypothesis is untenable because it, along with much of cognitive science, neglects the many important ways in which human minds are designed to operate within a social environment. This leads to a neglect of _norms_ and the processes of _social_ _transmission_ which have an important effect on scientific cognition and cognition more generally
Origgi, Gloria (online). Theories of theories of mind.   (Google)
Proust, Joëlle (2007). Metacognition and metarepresentation: Is a self-directed theory of mind a precondition for metacognition? Synthese.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Metacognition is often defined as thinking about thinking. It is exemplified in all the activities through which one tries to predict and evaluate one’s own mental dispositions, states and properties for their cognitive adequacy. This article discusses the view that metacognition has metarepresentational structure. Properties such as causal contiguity, epistemic transparency and procedural reflexivity are present in metacognition but missing in metarepresentation, while open-ended recursivity and inferential promiscuity only occur in metarepresentation. It is concluded that, although metarepresentations can redescribe metacognitive contents, metacognition and metarepresentation are functionally distinct
Schwitzgebel, Eric (1996). Theories in children and the rest of us. Philosophy of Science Association 3 (3):S202-S210.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Stich, Stephen P. & Nichols, Shaun (1998). Theory theory to the Max. Mind and Language 13 (3):421-449.   (Cited by 24 | Google | More links)
Sussman, Alan N. (1975). Mental entities of theoretical entities. American Philosophical Quarterly 12 (October):277-288.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Triplett, Timm & DeVries, Willem A. (2006). Is Sellars's Rylean hypothesis plausible? A dialogue. In Michael P. Wolf & Mark Norris Lance (eds.), The Self-Correcting Enterprise: Essays on Wilfrid Sellars. Rodopi.   (Google)
Zahavi, Dan (2004). The embodied self-awareness of the infant: A challenge to the theory-theory of mind. In Dan Zahavi, T. Grunbaum, Josef Parnas & T. Grunbaum (eds.), The Structure and Development of Self-Consciousness. John Benjamins.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This was originally written and presented at the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for College Teachers on Folk Psychology vs. Mental Simulation: How Minds Understand Minds, run by Robert Gordon at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, June-July 1999. It has been only lightly revised since, and should be considered a rough draft. Needless to say, the ideas herein owe a lot to what I learned at the seminar from Robert Gordon and the other participants, particularly Jim Garson. However, any errors are my responsibility alone