Mindshaping and Self-Interpretation

Authored by: Tadeusz W. Zawidzki

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of the Social Mind

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138827691
eBook ISBN: 9781315530178
Adobe ISBN: 9781315530161


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Human beings use the same concepts to interpret themselves as others. We think of both ourselves and others as believers, desirers, hopers, intenders, goal pursuers, and experiencers of sensations and emotions. Although this is obvious, it has been the source of centuries of puzzlement and controversy in both philosophy and psychology. We seem capable of interpreting ourselves in a way that we cannot interpret others. For example, we seem to require no behavioral evidence to know what we think, feel, or want; yet, such direct insight is impossible in the case of knowing what others think, feel, or want. These interpretive, socio-cognitive concepts and categories appear to have a radically disjoint nature: their application to the self seems unmediated by behavioral evidence and incorrigible, while their application to others seems completely dependent on behavioral evidence and epistemically fraught.

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