How relevant to the psychology of mindreading is knowledge-first epistemology?

Some epistemic mental states with propositional content (e.g. knowing, perceiving, remembering) are commonly said to be factive on the grounds that one cannot know, see, hear or remember what is not a fact. Others (e.g. believing, thinking, guessing, suspecting) are commonly said to be non-factive on the grounds that one’s beliefs, thoughts, guesses and suspicions need not map onto facts. In short, unlike belief attribution (e.g. ‘Mara believes that it is raining’), the attribution of knowledge (e.g. ‘Mara knows that it is raining’) presupposes the truth of its embedded clause (‘it is raining’). One of the linguistic criteria taken to demonstrate the factivity of knowledge is that generally (if not in every case) the transformation of a knowledge attribution (e.g. ‘Mara knows that it is raining’) into the corresponding question (e.g. ‘Does Mara know that it is raining?’) preserves the presupposition of the truth of the embedded clause (‘it is raining’). One thorny and controversial issue is whether factivity is best construed as being primarily a property of verbs standing for some psychological states or a property of the psychological states themselves.

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Could mindshaping be the bedrock of human social cognition?

The uniformity that unites us in communication and belief is a uniformity of resultant patterns overlying a chaotic subjective diversity of connections between words and experience. Uniformity comes

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If teleology is the answer, what was the question?

Josef Perner is one of the leading developmental psychologists of mindreading (or mental state attribution). His contribution to the subject, including his influential (1991) book, has been huge. It

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A natural experiment of gradual & contingent cultural causation

A new study about some old news, with results that demonstrate the promiscuous and highly contingent nature of cultural causation. In April 1989 Liverpool and Nottingham Forest were scheduled to play an FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough stadium, Sheffield (FA Cup semi-finals have always been scheduled at neutral venues). Shortly after kick-off it became apparent that there was severe overcrowding in one of the standing areas holding Liverpool supporters. The game was first paused and then abandoned, as the reality of the situation became apparent. The pen was overcrowded and there was a fatal crush of people, leaving 96 dead and 766 injured. It remains the worst disaster in British sporting history. Over the course of time it has emerged that the root cause was the decision by the police match commander, chief superintendent David Duckenfield, to order one of the large exit gates to be opened just before kick-off. This was an attempt to ease overcrowding outside the stadium, but it caused a rush of supporters into one relatively small area.

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Ostension, insistence, and harassment

Last week, the “Social Minds: Coordination, Communication, and Cultural Transmission” project was having a five-day workshop at the Burn, a manor in the Scottish Highlands. Elizabeth Warren (a PhD student working with Josep Call at St Andrews) presented her work on ostension in chimpanzees, with videos.

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