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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10481/45377

Title: Talking the way to other minds: Assessment, conversation and folk psychology
Authors: Fernández Castro, Víctor
Direction: Martínez-Manrique, Fernando
Vicente, Agustín
Collaborator: Universidad de Granada. Departamento de Filosofía I
Issue Date: 2017
Submitted Date: 3-Mar-2017
Abstract: The main aim of this dissertation is to offer a plausible hypothesis of the relation between language and folk psychology. According to this hypothesis, which I call the evaluative conversational hypothesis, human understanding of other agents in terms of mental states requires mastering certain complex linguistic abilities. In particular, humans need to engage in conversationally mediated joint and cooperative activities in order to acquire the conceptual capacity of ascribing propositional attitudes.What motivates a philosophical inquiry of the connection between language and folk psychology is the discontent with an assumption shared among the different empirical theories concerning this connection. In particular, these theories assume that propositional attitude ascriptions are descriptions of the inner psychological states of the subject under interpretation. This assumption takes for granted that, as social creatures, humans need to access other agents’ internal psychological machinery for the sake of prediction, coordination and explanation. Our ascriptions of desires, beliefs, hopes or other mental states represent or describe those psychological states which bring out courses of behavior that, otherwise, would appear alien to us. This thesis, which I introduce in chapter 3 under the label folk psychological descriptivism, is a heritage of a general approach to language according to which the main function of our expressions is to describe or denote worldly aspects and objects (Chrisman, 2007). The theses concerning the relation between language and folk psychology are diverse (Chapter 2), and they oscillate from those which negate any influence of language on social cognition, to those strongly committed to the idea that language is a necessary condition for folk psychological skills (Astington and Baird, 2005). In spite of this diversity, I argue that they all share their commitment to folk psychological descriptivism, and in fact, this commitment plays an important role in their different argumentative strategies (Chapter 3). My central contention is that folk psychological descriptivism is highly problematic. Thus, the descriptivist analysis of propositional attitude ascription must be replaced by an alternative. In order to make my point, I present three arguments against folk psychological descriptivism (Chapter 4). The first argument presents different everyday uses of propositional attitude ascriptions which are hardly interpretable from a descriptivist analysis. Secondly, I elaborate on Field (2009) to argue that certain types of disagreement (normative disagreements) involving belief or desire ascriptions reveal an evaluative component. That is, the resistance to dissolve exhibited by this type of disagreement manifests the evaluative nature of the ascriptions; they involve a supportive attitude that cannot be explained if it is assumed that our folk psychological ascriptions are in the business of stating facts. Finally, I argue that central cases of folk psychological ascriptions emerge in contexts where the attributers respond to instances of violation of expectation or counter-normative behaviors with regulative responses, including justifications, exculpations or condemnations. If propositional attitude ascriptions serve to justify or condemn actions, then they are evaluative in nature. Our rationalizations of actions demand to assign commitments and duties to the subject of the action.
Sponsorship: Tesis Univ. Granada.Departamento de Filosofía I
Publisher: Universidad de Granada
Keywords: Psicología social
Conocimiento y cultura
Trabajo intelectual
Creencias populares
Aprendizaje social
UDC: 101
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10481/45377
ISBN: 9788491251408
Rights : Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License
Citation: Fernández Castro, V. Talking the way to other minds: Assessment, conversation and folk psychology. Granada: Universidad de Granada, 2016. [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/45377]
Appears in Collections:Tesis

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