Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading

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Oxford University Press, Jul 6, 2006 - Philosophy - 384 pages
People are minded creatures; we have thoughts, feelings and emotions. More intriguingly, we grasp our own mental states, and conduct the business of ascribing them to ourselves and others without instruction in formal psychology. How do we do this? And what are the dimensions of our grasp of the mental realm? In this book, Alvin I. Goldman explores these questions with the tools of philosophy, developmental psychology, social psychology and cognitive neuroscience. He refines an approach called simulation theory, which starts from the familiar idea that we understand others by putting ourselves in their mental shoes. Can this intuitive idea be rendered precise in a philosophically respectable manner, without allowing simulation to collapse into theorizing? Given a suitable definition, do empirical results support the notion that minds literally create (or attempt to create) surrogates of other peoples mental states in the process of mindreading? Goldman amasses a surprising array of evidence from psychology and neuroscience that supports this hypothesis.

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Philosophical and Scientific Perspectives on Mentalizing
Conceptualizing Simulation Theory
The Rationality Theory
The ChildScientist Theory
The Modularity Theory
Simulation in LowLevel Mindreading
HighLevel Simulational Mindreading
Ontogeny Autism Empathy and Evolution
Concepts of Mental States
The Fabric of Social Life Mimicry Fantasy Fiction and Morality
Author Index
Subject Index

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Page 5 - I try to show that when we describe people as exercising qualities of mind, we are not referring to occult episodes of which their overt acts and utterances are effects; we are referring to those overt acts and utterances themselves.
Page 8 - Add also all the platitudes to the effect that one mental state falls under another — 'toothache is a kind of pain', and the like. Perhaps there are platitudes of other forms as well. Include only platitudes which are common knowledge among us — everyone knows them, everyone knows that everyone else knows them, and so on.

About the author (2006)

Alvin I. Goldman is Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University.

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