False-belief task know-how: Author:

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This paper assumes that success on false-belief tasks requires a kind of folk psychological know-how, i.e. gradable knowledge how to perform skilful social cognitive acts. Following Ryle (Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 1946, The Concept of Mind, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1949), it argues the folk psychological know-how required for success on a false-belief task cannot be reduced to conceptual knowledge as this would lead to an infinite regress. Within the skilled performance literature, Intellectualists (Stanley and Williams in Journal of Philosophy 98:411–444, 2001) have attempted to solve Ryle’s regress by appealing to automatic mechanisms similar in kind to some Theory-of-Mind explanations of folk psychology. Exploring this similarity, the paper examines the epistemic commitments of two recent pragmatic Theory-of-Mind accounts (Westra and Carruthers in Cognition 158:165–176, 2017; Fenici in Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 2020) of cross-cultural false-belief task data (Shahaeian et al. in Developmental Psychology 47:1239–1247, 2011). By drawing on Fridland’s (Philosophical Studies 165:879–891, 2012) argument against Intellectualist explanations of know-how, it is argued that neither of these pragmatic Theory-of-Mind accounts can adequately explain gradable folk psychological know-how and escape Ryle’s infinite regress objection if these accounts are indeed committed to Intellectualism. The paper ends by supplementing Fenici’s (Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 2020) account with the enactive framework to both bolster Fenici’s explanation of false-belief task know-how and avoid Ryle’s regress objection.

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