Folk psychology as narrative practice



Publication Details

Hutto, D. (2009). Folk psychology as narrative practice. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 16 (6-8), 9-39.

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Journal of Consciousness Studies


There has been a long-standing interest in the putative roles that various so-called ‘theory of mind’abilities might play in enabling us to understand and enjoy narratives. Of late, as our understanding of the complexity and diversity of everyday psychological capacities has become more nuanced and variegated, new possibilities have been articulated: (i) that our capacity for a sophisticated, everyday understanding of actions in terms of reason (our folk psychology) may itself be best characterized as a kind of narrative practice and (ii) that acquiring the capacity for supplying and digesting reasons explanations might (at least normally) depend upon having a special training with narratives. This introductory paper to the volume situates the claims of those who support the narrative approach to folk psychology against the backdrop of some traditional and new thinking about intersubjectivity, social cognition and ‘theory of mind’ abilities. Special emphasis is laid on the different reasons for being interested in these claims about narrative practice and folk psychology in light of various empirical and philosophical agendas.

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