Publication Details

Hutto, D. (2007). Review: Rethinking commonsense psychology: A critique of folk psychology, theory of mind and simulation. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, (3 November), 1-3.


Ask nearly any analytic philosopher of mind how we understand intentional actions performed for reasons and you are bound to be told that we do so by deploying mental concepts, such as beliefs and desires, in systematic ways. This way of making sense of actions is known as commonsense or folk psychology (or CSP or FP for short). There have been many interesting debates about CSP over the years. These have focused on questions including: How fundamental and universal is this practice? Which species engage in it? What mechanisms underwrite the competence? How is the ability acquired? And, what exactly is its status (e.g. is it a kind of theory or simulative ability? If it's a theory, is it a good theory, etc.)? Philosophers divide in their responses to such questions, but practically all of them agree that CSP is at least a prominent and important part of our everyday understanding and that it grounds at least some very important social practices.