Re: [xmca] XM, C's and H's

From: Derek Melser <derek.melser who-is-at>
Date: Mon Dec 15 2008 - 23:53:33 PST

Thanks Andy,
I knew of the book, and have actually skimmed it, but didn't notice the
quality of his account of folk theory. I've had a good look at it now. It's
a lot more interesting, as a defence of folk psychology, than the other
stuff I read on the subject for my PhD. But I think, if this of Bruner grabs
you, that you would find my own account of folk psychology (alias 'theory
theory') interesting too. It makes up the first part of the first of two
chapters ('Where our notion of the mind comes from 1' & '2') in that
stunning feat of anti-cognitivism, *The Act of Thinking... *(browseable on
Google books aussi).

I remember having to bone up on the Grice stuff about reciprocal
communicative intentions some decades ago. In my view (see: ) the cooperative aspects
of verbal communication are relatively superficial and, fundamentally,
verbal communication is a *concerted* activity (of speaker and hearer).

I still think the Santa analogy holds good. 'It's just a children's story.'
As long as the child knows what really goes on at Christmas, who it is who
is really giving the prezzies, the realisation that Santa is a myth
shouldn't be too difficult. But, you're right, it's very different, in
practice, with 'mind' (etc.). Even if you can point precisely to what the
metaphor is about, what the reality underlying the metaphor consists of,
what 'mind' is a metaphor *for*, people are still going to be incredulous,
even indignant.
I remember as a young philosophy tutor steeped in Ryle, commenting to a
psychiatrist (a friend's father, head of a large institution) that I had a
lot of trouble getting my tutorial class to even understand the idea that,
really, there is no such thing as 'the mind'. His expression suddenly became
grim. He said, "Do they really let you teach that?"
One last thing. I'm not an atheist any more than I am a behaviourist. (Nor,
of course, am I a naive theist, or a naive realist about folk psychology).
Hopefully, my views in both areas are a bit more sophisticated. Not going
along with the folk myths doesn't necessarily imply a defection from
whatever solidarity is around, though. For example,
Merry Christmas.

2008/12/16 Andy Blunden <>

> At last! I've been driving myself crazy over this one. The discussion of
> "Folk Psychology" I liked was in:
> *Jerome Bruner. Acts of Meaning: Four Lectures on Mind and Culture*
> It's on Google books, so you can check it out there. Sorry for all that! :(
> Andy
> Andy Blunden wrote:
>> Derek, I should sleep some more, and then maybe I'd remember not only how
>> to spell an author's name, but also which author I was reading! My
>> apologies. I will continue trying to discover in which book I found this
>> interesing argument.
>> But in the meantime, I was not absolutely completely deceiving you in that
>> Tomasello has an extended argument about what he calls "Gricean
>> Communicative intention," the drift of which is that you can only make sense
>> of people's speech and actions on the basis that the speaker assumes that
>> the listener knows what the speaker's intention is, and that the speaker
>> knows that the listener knows that the speaker knows that the listener knows
>> the speaker's intention, and so on ad infinitum. In my words a rational
>> knowledge of "folk psychology" is presupposed in communicative action.
>> Andy
>> Derek Melser wrote:
>>> Andy,
>>> I was looking up Tomasello's 'Origins of Human Communication' on google
>>> books -- as you were writing this last email of yours, as it happens --
>>> hoping to browse the bit on folk psychology, but it assures me there is no
>>> reference to 'folk psychology' in the entire book. How can this be???
>>> DM
>>> 2008/12/16 Andy Blunden < <>>
>>> Oops, I meant Michael Tomasello. (I realised this while asleep last
>>> night! Isn't that weird?)
>>> Andy
>>> Andy Blunden wrote:
>>> Michael Thomasino has a nice bit about "folk psychology" in his
>>> "Origins of Human Communication" where he points out that folk
>>> psychology exists as a real force in human life and goes from
>>> there into a very interesting argument. You should have a look
>>> at it.
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> xmca mailing list
>>> <>
> --
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Andy Blunden <>+61 3 9380 9435 Skype andy.blunden
> Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
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Received on Mon Dec 15 23:55:07 2008

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