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Review: Drawing the Boundary between Low-Level and High-Level Mindreading

Reviewed Work: Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading by Alvin I. Goldman
Review by: Frédérique de Vignemont
Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition
Vol. 144, No. 3 (Jun., 2009), pp. 457-466
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27734458
Page Count: 10
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Drawing the Boundary between Low-Level and High-Level Mindreading
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Abstract

The philosophical world is indebted to Alvin Goldman for a number of reasons, and among them, his defense of the relevance of cognitive science for philosophy of mind. In "Simulating minds", Goldman discusses with great care and subtlety a wide variety of experimental results related to mindreading from cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, social psychology and developmental psychology. No philosopher has done more to display the resourcefulness of mental simulation. I am sympathetic with much of the general direction of Goldman's theory. I agree with him that mindreading is not a single system based on a single mechanism. And I admire his attempt to being together the cognitive neuroscientific discovery of mirror system phenomena and the philosophical account of pretense within a unique theoretical framework of mental simulation. To do so, Goldman distinguishes two types of mindreading, respectively, based on low-level and high-level simulation. Yet, I wonder in what sense they are really two distinct processes. Here, I will confine myself largely to spelling out a series of points that take issue with the distinction between low-level and high-level mindreading.

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