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Review: Simulation à la Goldman: Pretend and Collapse

Reviewed Work: Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading by Alvin I. Goldman
Review by: Josef Perner , Johannes L. Brandl
Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition
Vol. 144, No. 3 (Jun., 2009), pp. 435-446
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27734456
Page Count: 12
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Simulation à la Goldman: Pretend and Collapse
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Abstract

Theories of mind draw on processes that represent mental states and their computational connections; simulation, in addition, draws on processes that replicate (Heal 1986) a sequence of mental states. Moreover, mental simulation can be triggered by input from imagination instead of real perceptions. To avoid confusion between mental states concerning reality and those created in simulation, imagined contents must be quarantined. Goldman bypasses this problem by giving pretend states a special role to play in simulation (Goldman 2006). We argue that this path leads to the resurgence of the threat of collapse (Davies 1994), diluting the principled distinction between simulation and theory use. Exploration of a related method of real-mental states operating in a pretend mode leads to a factually untenable model. Our main goal here is to raise this problem as a challenge for Goldman's reconfigured simulation theory. Only at the end we will briefly sketch a possible alternative way of quarantine that preserves the replicative element of simulation and avoids collapse. Figure 1 provides a guide to our argument.

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