Limited Engagements and Narrative Extensions

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Abstract:

E-approaches to the mind stress the embodied, embedded and enactive nature of mental phenomena. In their more radical, non-representational variants these approaches offer innovative and powerful new ways of understanding fundamental modes of intersubjective social interaction: I-approaches. While promising, E and I accounts have natural limits. In particular, they are unable to explain human competence in making sense of reasons for actions in folk-psychological terms. In this paper I outline the core features of the 'Narrative Practice Hypothesis' (NPH), showing how it might take up that burden in a way which complements non-representationalist E and I accounts. I conclude by addressing a new-order eliminativist challenge from Ratcliffe that questions, inter alia, the very idea that there is anything like a well-defined folk-psychological competence that needs explaining, thereby rendering the NPH otiose. Additionally, I respond to Ratcliffe's claim that the relevant structures needed for the development of that competence do not reveal themselves in relevant narratives, rendering the NPH's developmental story impossible.

Keywords: eliminativism; embedded cognition; embodiment; folk psychology; intentionality; narrative

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09672550802113375

Affiliations: University of Hertfordshire, England

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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