The Problem of Other Minds: What Problem? Whose Mind?

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Abstract

This paper reimagines the traditional problem of other minds. On a Cartesian view, the problem involves humans’ inability to perceive other persons’ minds. Similarly, Gilbert Ryle claims that we cannot directly access another’s mind. The paper’s rethinking of the problem of other minds moves beyond these questions of perceptibility and accessibility. It asks whether there are certain groups of people whose minds are systematically misinterpreted, or even denied mentality. It argues that there are. This claim builds off recent work in philosophy and social psychology on epistemic injustice and the role of social categories in mental state attribution. The paper proposes the Problem of the Other’s Mind: the phenomenon of a (relatively) socially privileged person’s inability or lack of desire to understand the mind of a (relatively) socially underprivileged person.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)708-728
Number of pages21
JournalMetaphilosophy
Volume50
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

Keywords

  • gender
  • problem of other minds
  • race
  • rationality
  • simulation theory
  • theory of mind
  • theory theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

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