Using Causal Models to Think about Mindreading

Authored by: Hayley Clatterbuck

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds

Print publication date:  July  2017
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138822887
eBook ISBN: 9781315742250
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315742250.ch23

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Abstract

A plausible account of mindreading ought to provide satisfying answers to the following two sets of questions. First, what is the function of mindreading? What advantages does it confer, and why might it have evolved? Second, how could we tell whether a subject is mindreading? These two questions are closely related, for to answer either one, we must give an account of which behaviors we should expect from a mindreader that we would not expect from a subject that does not reason about the mental states of others. In addition, to answer either requires an investigation of alternative cognitive processes that a subject may be utilizing. Finally, both questions require us to say what mindreading is so that we investigate what it does and where it can be found.

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