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Knowing Other Minds$
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Anita Avramides and Matthew Parrott

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198794400

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198794400.001.0001

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Enquiries Concerning the Minds of Others

Enquiries Concerning the Minds of Others

(p.1) 1 Enquiries Concerning the Minds of Others
Knowing Other Minds

Matthew Parrott

Oxford University Press

This chapter serves as substantive introduction to the topic of this volume. More specifically, it discusses three central problems relating to our everyday knowledge of other minds. The first is an epistemological problem concerning whether we are capable of knowing anything at all about the mental states of others and, if we are, how we are able to do this. The second is a conceptual problem, concerning our ability to have concepts of mental states that are applicable both to oneself and to others in a way that preserves unity of meaning. As we will see, this conceptual problem arises if we think that a subject typically acquires mental state concepts on the basis of her own experiences. The third problem is explanatory, and it concerns the psychological processes and mechanisms that underpin our ordinary attributions of mental states to others. These three problems are not only central to existing philosophical discussions of our knowledge of other minds, but they are also the primary questions addressed in this volume. As well as outlining the questions, this chapter serves as an introduction to the way in which each of the subsequent chapters chooses to address one or another of them. The chapter concludes with a proposal for how we might consider the answers to each of these problems as related to the others.

Keywords:   knowledge of other minds, epistemological problem of other minds, conceptual problem of other minds, reductionism, simulation theory, theory-theory, autonomy thesis

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