PPIG: Philosophy, Psychology, and Informatics Group

Speaker: Eva Rafteseder (University of Stirling)

Title: Positioning teleology in relation to belief-desire psychology

Abstract: Counterfactual situations reflect the world as it would be, had things been different. False beliefs are counterfactual insofar as they represent the world as it is not. Accumulating evidence suggests that younger children’s difficulties with false beliefs stem from a broader problem with counterfactual situations. However, existing work is correlational. In the lecture I will present two studies that used a causal manipulation and that revealed a signature of counterfactual reasoning in participants’ answers to false belief questions. I will discuss different theories and their ability to account for each aspect of our findings and conclude that reasoning about others’ beliefs and actions requires similar cognitive processes as using counterfactual suppositions. These findings question the explanatory power of standard views, theory theory and simulation theory, in favour of views that explicitly provide for a relationship between false belief reasoning and counterfactual reasoning.

Further information

We are a group of researchers from diverse backgrounds in the above-mentioned groups (and beyond) who aim to gain an interdisciplinary yet deep understanding of the threads that bind the human mind and the world. In particular, this seminar series focuses on the nature of cognition, metacognition and social cognition. We’ll be tackling questions such as, what does it mean to think? What does it mean to think about thinking? And, what does it mean to think about one’s own thinking versus thinking about the thinking of other people? Please come along!

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Contact details

Dr Alistair Isaac

Feb 05 2020 -

PPIG: Philosophy, Psychology, and Informatics Group

2020-02-05: Positioning teleology in relation to belief-desire psychology

Room 1.20, Dugald Stewart Building, 3 Charles Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AD