There Are No Folk Psychological Narratives

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I argue that the task of describing our so-called 'folk psychology' requires difficult philosophical work. Consequently, any statement of the folk view is actually a debatable philosophical posi-tion, rather than an uncontroversial description of pre-philosophical commonsense. The problem with the current folk psychology debate, I suggest, is that the relevant philosophical work has not been done. Consequently, the orthodox account of folk psychology is an uninfor-mative caricature of an understanding that is implicit in everyday discourse and social interaction, and also in literary narratives. I conclude by considering two recent departures from it, so-called 'experimental philosophy' and Daniel Hutto's 'narrative practice hypothesis'. Both, I claim, take steps in the right direction but retain unhelpful assumptions that they inherit from the orthodox view.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, Durham University, 50 Old Elvet, Durham DH1 3HN, Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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