The Private Language Argument and a Second-Person Approach to Mindreading

European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 5 (4):75--86 (2013)
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I argue that if Wittgenstein’s Private Language Argument is correct, then both Theory Theory and Simulation Theory are inadequate accounts of how we come to know other minds since both theories assume the reality of a private language. Further, following the work of a number of philosophers and psychologists, I defend a ‘Second-Person Approach’ to mindreading according to which it is possible for us to be directly aware of at least some of the mental states of others. Because it is not necessary to assume a private language within the Second-Person Approach, I argue that this account of social cognition is superior to Theory-Theory and Simulation Theory since it avoids the objections of the PLA.

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Joshua Johnson
Saint Louis University


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