Lessons from Wittgenstein: elucidating folk psychology
To the extent that psychologists are concerned to do more than collect raw data for possible interpretation, they cannot avoid interrogating the philosophical assumptions which inform their work. This paper argues that there is a vital need for conceptual clarification of many of the central topics studied by today's sciences of the mind. Yet, rather than offering a comprehensive survey of these, this paper focuses on one illustrative, high profile case: the way in which our everyday understanding of reasons for action has been wrongly categorized in terms of 'theory of mind' abilities. Focusing on this example I show how it is possible to elucidate topics in the philosophy of psychology by relinquishing certain powerful explanatory temptations and by attending more closely to our everyday practices and activities.
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