The next talk in the School of Psychology Seminar Series will be held on Friday the 27th of August at 3pm in room 303 of the McElwain Building.
RSSS, ANU and
Victoria University Wellington
Mind-Reading, Nativism and Simulation.
Modular, nativist views of the architecture of the human mind are
currently influential. These views are often based on learnability
considerations. Nativists argue that some aspect of human cognitive
competence depends on the appropriate use of rich informational
resources: resources that agent could not acquire via ordinary
learning mechanisms. They must therefore depend on an innate
cognitive specialisation. Arguments of this form depend critically on
assumptions about the cognitive resources agents need to have the
skill in question. I shall discuss a particular case: "mind-reading";
that is, our ability to predict the beliefs, preferences and hence
the actions of other agents. While a nativist view of mind reading
looks plausible if we accept a "theory-theory" of mind reading, it
looks much less plausible if we accept a theory-theory/simulationist
hybrid. In my view such hybrid views of mind reading are both
independently plausible and anti-nativist in their implications. I
illustrate this line of thought through considering Nichols and
Stich's recent monograph on interpreting others. For there they
present and defend a new hybrid model of mind-reading.