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Understanding Other Minds: A Criticism of Goldman's Simulation Theory and an Outline of the Person Model Theory

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What exactly do we do when we try to make sense of other people e.g. by ascribing mental states like beliefs and desires to them? After a short criticism of Theory-Theory, Interaction Theory and the Narrative Theory of understanding others as well as an extended criticism of the Simulation Theory in Goldman's recent version (2006), we suggest an alternative approach: the Person Model Theory. Person models are the basis for our ability to register and evaluate persons having mental as well as physical properties. We argue that there are two kinds of person models, nonconceptual person schemata and conceptual person images, and both types of models can be developed for individuals as well as for groups.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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