Date of Graduation

12-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Philosophy (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Philosophy

Advisor

Jack Lyons

Committee Member

Eric M. Funkhouser

Second Committee Member

Warren Herold

Keywords

Philosophy, religion and theology; Psychology; Default; Hybrid account; Mindreading; Mindreading mechanism; Simulation; Theory

Abstract

Mindreading, or attributing mental states to others, involves instances of simulation and theory; but there is controversy over which one of these methods is the primary, or default, mechanism. I propose that mindreading is a theory-based process, such that we utilize theory over simulation when both are available and reliable. To argue my position, I suggest that theory has been inaccurately portrayed in past discussion and that we possess two types: a connectionist network (tt1) and a traditional, conceptual folk-psychology (tt2). By dividing theory in this way, we can explain common phenomena of mindreading that other theory-based accounts do not explicitly imply. Previously used as evidence for a simulation-based model, these phenomena are now compatible with a Dual Type Theory Account. Additionally, the distinction between type 1 and type 2 theory invites a new argument for primacy by appealing to the cognitive resources required by a mechanism, such that the primary method will be the one that requires the least amount of effort and is available in every case. Since tt1 is effortless and automatic, it is likely the default process. Tt1 provides us with a modular, fast, unconscious mindreading tool that is not dependent on conceptual knowledge, yet it can be influenced and adjusted by tt2 via supervised learning.

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