Why folk-psychology is not about the mind
This paper defends the thesis that folk-psychological terms do not track private subjective experience. To this end, evidence is presented in support of the idea that people's everyday phenomenal experiences differ much more than public discourse about mental states suggests. Data can be gathered from studies that employ Descriptive Experience Sampling (DES), questionnaires and cases of extreme phenomenology. The fact that people with different phenomenological experience are similarly competent users of folk-psychological terms suggests that tracking subjective experience is not a function of mental state terms. This is especially relevant for terms that appear to describe phenomenal experience, such as ‘imagination’. Phenomenal variation has consequences for various debates in philosophy of mind, such as the phenomenology of intentional states and social cognition.
Faculteit der Filosofie, Theologie en Religiewetenschappen