Starting without theory: confronting the paradox of conceptual development



Publication Details

Hutto, D. D. (2005). Starting without theory: confronting the paradox of conceptual development. In B. F. Malle and S. D. Hodges (Eds.), Other Minds: How Humans Bridge the Divide Between Self and Others (pp. 56-72). New York, United States: The Guilford Press.

Additional Publication Information

ISBN: 9781593851873


For over two decades the dominant theory, in both philosophical and psychological circles, about how we humans (and disputably apes) get by in our everyday affairs has been that we ascribe thoughts, desires, and intentions to others, drawing on a "theory" or "set of principles" about such mental states. When successful, such ascriptions are putatively the means by which we causally explain what lies behind outward behavior and action. This hypothesis has become known as the theory-theory: it is called such because the idea that commonsense psychology has a theoretical (or principled) basis is just one theory about its nature-albeit the dominant one.

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