Whose mind? Two interpretations of what it is to directly perceive other minds

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According to direct perception theory (DPT) people understand each other’s minds by way of perceiving each other’s behavioral engagements in the world. I argue that DPT admits of two interpretations. One interpretation is found in Searle’s social ontology. The other interpretation departs from an enactivist account of social cognition. Both can be employed to make sense of what it is to perceive other minds, but in two different senses. The first allows for the claim that people can directly perceive states of mind shared in a community. In contrast, the second interpretation allows for direct perception of particular individuals’ states of mind in the context of participation in social practices. The two interpretations are argued to be compatible. People can perceive communal states of mind in another’s responsiveness to action possibilities in social environments, not only the particular other’s states of mind.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-437
Number of pages18
JournalTheory & Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May 26

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Philosophy

Free keywords

  • social understanding
  • Direct perception
  • Constitutive rules
  • Enaction
  • Collective intentionality


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