Seeing the Invisible: How to Perceive, Imagine, and Infer the Minds of Others

Erkenntnis 83 (2):205-229 (2017)
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Abstract
The psychology and phenomenology of our knowledge of other minds is not well captured either by describing it simply as perception, nor by describing it simply as inference. A better description, I argue, is that our knowledge of other minds involves both through ‘perceptual co-presentation’, in which we experience objects as having aspects that are not revealed. This allows us to say that we perceive other minds, but perceive them as private, i.e. imperceptible, just as we routinely perceive aspects of physical objects as unperceived. I discuss existing versions of this idea, particularly Joel Smith’s, on which it is taken to imply that our knowledge of other minds is, in these cases, perceptual and not inferential. Against this, I argue that perceptual co-presentation in general, and mind-perception in particular, yields knowledge that is simultaneously both perceptual and inferential.
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2018
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Archival date: 2019-01-02
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2017-02-28

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