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The Idea of Different Folk Psychologies

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The idea of different folk psychologies is the idea that among the world's cultures there are those whose folk, or commonsense, psychologies differ in theoretically significant ways from each other and from western folk psychology. This challenges the claim that folk psychology is a 'cultural universal'. The paper looks first of all at what are called 'opulent' accounts of folk psychology, which employ a wide-ranging and more complex set of psychological concepts, and 'core' accounts, which employ a much more restricted set of such concepts. With respect to both kinds of account it is argued that field studies of the folk-psychological concepts of a number of ethnic groups indicate significant differences between the concepts used by those groups and those of western folk psychology; and hence do not support the view that folk psychology is a cultural universal.

Keywords: Belief; Emotion; Folk Psychology; Mind; Psychology; Universals

Document Type: Editorial

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09672550110081285

Publication date: November 1, 2001

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