Leave inference alone: Direct inferential social cognition

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Direct perception and theory-theory approaches to social cognition are opposed with respect to whether social cognition is inferential. The latter argues that it is inferential, the former that it is not. This paper argues that the opposition in terms of inference is mistaken. A sense of inference is specified on which social cognition can be inferential and directly perceptual. Arguing for inferential social cognition does not commit to a defense of indirect social cognition if inferential access to other minds can be direct. Contrary convictions are symptomatic of working with too simplistic a notion of inference. The dispute between direct and inferentialist social cognition is one where both sides can be right. The argument, then, is that inferentialism should not be called on to witness in favor or disfavor of advocates of either direct or indirect social cognition.


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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Philosophy
  • Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-201
JournalTheory & Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date2020 Mar 5
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 23
Publication categoryResearch

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