Call: Perceiving Others’ Minds

Perceiving Others’ Minds

Friday 1st July 2010
Boardroom, Arthur Lewis Building
University of Manchester
M13 9PL


Attendence is free but please register by e-mailing Joel Smith.

The event is funded by the Royal Institute of Philosophy.

We know a lot about each others’ mental lives. There’s a question about how we know what we do. There’s no doubt that perception plays a role in securing us some of this knowledge. It is often by seeing and hearing others that we come to know that they have minds or what is on their minds.

Traditionally, however, perception was thought to give us information only about other bodies and their bodily behaviours. Such evidence had then to be turned in to knowledge of others’ minds and mental features. Usually, the transformation was supposed to come by way of a theory warranted either by its explanatory and predictive power, or by analogy with one’s own states. More recently it has been proposed that the transformation of this bodily information might come by way of a mental simulation or empathic connection.

However, an alternative is that information about others’ minds and mental lives can itself form part of our basic evidence; that we might perceive others’ minds or some of their mental features. This alternative has received only piecemeal attention, and remains underexplored. The aim of the workshop is to bring together philosophers who have expressed an interest in the idea that we can have perceptual knowledge of others’ mental lives.

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