"Social Cognition: Mindreading and Alternatives" – A Special Issue of the Review of Philosophy and Psychology

I’m pleased to announce the recent publication of a special issue of the Review of Philosophy and Psychology I guest edited with Dan Hutto and Victoria Southgate on mindreading and alternative accounts of social cognition. Here’s an excerpt from our editorial:

Human beings, even very young infants, and members of several other species, exhibit remarkable capacities for attending to and engaging with others. These basic capacities have been the subject of intense research in developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, comparative psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy of mind over the last several decades. Appropriately characterizing the exact level and nature of these abilities and what lies at their basis continues to prove a tricky business.

The contributions to this special issue investigate whether and to what extent the exercise of such capacities count as, or are best explained by, a genuine understanding of minds, where such understanding depends on the creatures in question possessing capacities for attributing a range of mental states and their contents in systematic ways. The question that takes center stage is: Do the capacities for attending to and engaging with others in question involve mindreading or is this achieved by other means?

In this editorial we will review the state of the debate between mindreading and alternative accounts of social cognition. The issue is organized as follows: the first two papers review the experimental literature on mindreading in primates (Bermúdez) and children (Low & Wang), and the kinds of arguments made for mindreading and alternative accounts of social cognition. The next set of papers (Hedger & Fabricius, Lurz & Krachun, Zawidzki, and de Bruin et al.) further critique the existing experimental data and defend various mindreading and non-mindreading accounts. The final set of papers address further issues raised by phenomenological (Jacob, Zahavi), enactive (Michael), and embodied (Spaulding) accounts of social cognition.

Social Cognition: Mindreading and Alternatives


Editorial: Social Cognition: Mindreading and Alternatives

Daniel D. Hutto, Mitchell Herschbach and Victoria Southgate

The Force-field Puzzle and Mindreading in Non-human Primates

José Luis Bermúdez

On the Long Road to Mentalism in Children’s Spontaneous False-Belief Understanding: Are We There Yet?

Jason Low and Bo Wang

True Belief Belies False Belief: Recent Findings of Competence in Infants and Limitations in 5-Year-Olds, and Implications for Theory of Mind Development

Joseph A. Hedger and William V. Fabricius

How Could We Know Whether Nonhuman Primates Understand Others’ Internal Goals and Intentions? Solving Povinelli’s Problem

Robert W. Lurz and Carla Krachun

How to Interpret Infant Socio-Cognitive Competence

Tadeusz Wieslaw Zawidzki

Early Social Cognition: Alternatives to Implicit Mindreading

Leon de Bruin, Derek Strijbos and Marc Slors

The Direct-Perception Model of Empathy: a Critique

Pierre Jacob

Empathy and Direct Social Perception: A Phenomenological Proposal

Dan Zahavi

Interactionism and Mindreading

John Michael

A Critique of Embodied Simulation

Shannon Spaulding

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