•  1900
    Mirror Neurons and Social Cognition
    Mind and Language 28 (2): 233-257. 2013.
    Mirror neurons are widely regarded as an important key to social cognition. Despite such wide agreement, there is very little consensus on how or why they are important. The goal of this paper is to clearly explicate the exact role mirror neurons play in social cognition. I aim to answer two questions about the relationship between mirroring and social cognition: What kind of social understanding is involved with mirroring? How is mirroring related to that understanding? I argue that philosophic…Read more
  •  1543
    Embodied cognition and theory of mind
    In Lawrence Shapiro (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Embodied Cognition, Routledge. pp. 197-206. 2014.
    According to embodied cognition, the philosophical and empirical literature on theory of mind is misguided. Embodied cognition rejects the idea that social cognition requires theory of mind. It regards the intramural debate between the Theory Theory and the Simulation Theory as irrelevant, and it dismisses the empirical studies on theory of mind as ill conceived and misleading. Embodied cognition provides a novel deflationary account of social cognition that does not depend on theory of mind. In…Read more
  •  1353
    Imagination Through Knowledge
    In Amy Kind & Peter Kung (eds.), Knowledge Through Imagination, Oxford University Press. pp. 207-226. 2016.
    Imagination seems to play an epistemic role in philosophical and scientific thought experiments, mindreading, and ordinary practical deliberations insofar as it generates new knowledge of contingent facts about the world. However, it also seems that imagination is limited to creative generation of ideas. Sometimes we imagine fanciful ideas that depart freely from reality. The conjunction of these claims is what I call the puzzle of knowledge through imagination. This chapter aims to resolve this…Read more
  •  1140
    Phenomenology of Social Cognition
    Erkenntnis 80 (5): 1069-1089. 2015.
    Can phenomenological evidence play a decisive role in accepting or rejecting social cognition theories? Is it the case that a theory of social cognition ought to explain and be empirically supported by our phenomenological experience? There is serious disagreement about the answers to these questions. This paper aims to determine the methodological role of phenomenology in social cognition debates. The following three features are characteristic of evidence capable of playing a substantial metho…Read more
  •  1081
    Embodied Social Cognition
    Philosophical Topics 39 (1): 141-162. 2011.
    In this paper I evaluate embodied social cognition, embodied cognition’s account of how we understand others. I identify and evaluate three claims that motivate embodied social cognition. These claims are not specific to social cognition; they are general hypotheses about cognition. As such, they may be used in more general arguments for embodied cognition. I argue that we have good reasons to reject these claims. Thus, the case for embodied social cognition fails. Moreover, to the extent that g…Read more
  •  883
    On Direct Social Perception
    Consciousness and Cognition 36 472-482. 2015.
    Direct Social Perception (DSP) is the idea that we can non-inferentially perceive others’ mental states. In this paper, I argue that the standard way of framing DSP leaves the debate at an impasse. I suggest two alternative interpretations of the idea that we see others’ mental states: others’ mental states are represented in the content of our perception, and we have basic perceptual beliefs about others’ mental states. I argue that the latter interpretation of DSP is more promising and examine…Read more
  •  817
    Imagination, Desire, and Rationality
    Journal of Philosophy 112 (9): 457-476. 2015.
    We often have affective responses to fictional events. We feel afraid for Desdemona when Othello approaches her in a murderous rage. We feel disgust toward Iago for orchestrating this tragic event. What mental architecture could explain these affective responses? In this paper I consider the claim that the best explanation of our affective responses to fiction involves imaginative desires. Some theorists argue that accounts that do not invoke imaginative desires imply that consumers of fiction h…Read more
  •  736
    Mind Misreading
    Philosophical Issues 26 (1). 2016.
    Most people think of themselves as pretty good at understanding others’ beliefs, desires, emotions, and intentions. Accurate mindreading is an impressive cognitive feat, and for this reason the philosophical literature on mindreading has focused exclusively on explaining such successes. However, as it turns out, we regularly make mindreading mistakes. Understanding when and how mind misreading occurs is crucial for a complete account of mindreading. In this paper, I examine the conditions under …Read more
  •  717
    Disagreeing with others about how to interpret a social interaction is a common occurrence. We often find ourselves offering divergent interpretations of others’ motives, intentions, beliefs, and emotions. Remarkably, philosophical accounts of how we understand others do not explain, or even attempt to explain such disagreements. I argue these disparities in social interpretation stem, in large part, from the effect of social categorization and our goals in social interactions, phenomena long st…Read more
  •  566
    On Whether we Can See Intentions
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (2): 150-170. 2017.
    Direct Perception is the view that we can see others' mental states, i.e. that we perceive others' mental states with the same immediacy and directness that we perceive ordinary objects in the world. I evaluate Direct Perception by considering whether we can see intentions, a particularly promising candidate for Direct Perception. I argue that the view equivocates on the notion of intention. Disambiguating the Direct Perception claim reveals a troubling dilemma for the view: either it is banal o…Read more
  •  505
    How we think and act together
    Philosophical Psychology 30 (3): 298-314. 2017.
    In this paper, I examine the challenges socially extended minds pose for mainstream, individualistic accounts of social cognition. I argue that individualistic accounts of social cognition neglect phenomena important to social cognition that are properly emphasized by socially extended mind accounts. Although I do not think the evidence or arguments warrant replacing individualistic explanations of social cognition with socially extended explanations, I argue that we have good reason to suppleme…Read more
  •  451
    Overextended cognition
    Philosophical Psychology 25 (4). 2012.
    Extended cognition is the view that some cognitive processes extend beyond the brain. One prominent strategy of arguing against extended cognition is to offer necessary conditions on cognition and argue that the proposed extended processes fail to satisfy these conditions. I argue that this strategy is misguided and fails to refute extended cognition. I suggest a better way to evaluate the case for extended cognition that should be acceptable to all parties, captures the intuitiveness of previou…Read more
  •  435
    Simulation Theory
    In Amy Kind (ed.), Handbook of Imagination, Routledge Press. pp. 262-273. 2016.
    This is a penultimate draft of a paper that will appear in Handbook of Imagination, Amy Kind (ed.). Routledge Press. Please cite only the final printed version.
  •  382
    Embodied Cognition and Sport
    In Massimiliano Cappuccio (ed.), Handbook of Embodied Cognition and Sport Psychology, Mit Press. pp. 3-22. 2018.
    Successful athletic performance requires precision in many respects. A batter stands behind home plate awaiting the arrival of a ball that is less than three inches in diameter and moving close to 100 mph. His goal is to hit it with a ba­­t that is also less than three inches in diameter. This impressive feat requires extraordinary temporal and spatial coordination. The sweet spot of the bat must be at the same place, at the same time, as the ball. A basketball player must keep a ball bouncing a…Read more
  •  367
    A Critique of Embodied Simulation
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (3): 579-599. 2011.
    Social cognition is the capacity to understand and interact with others. The mainstream account of social cognition is mindreading, the view that we humans understanding others by interpreting their behavior in terms of mental states. Recently theorists from philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience have challenged the mindreading account, arguing for a more deflationary account of social cognition. In this paper I examine a deflationary account of social cognition, embodied simulation, which is …Read more
  •  322
    Embodied cognition and mindreading
    Mind and Language 25 (1): 119-140. 2010.
    Recently, philosophers and psychologists defending the embodied cognition research program have offered arguments against mindreading as a general model of our social understanding. The embodied cognition arguments are of two kinds: those that challenge the developmental picture of mindreading and those that challenge the alleged ubiquity of mindreading. Together, these two kinds of arguments, if successful, would present a serious challenge to the standard account of human social understanding.…Read more
  •  223
    What is Mindreading?
    WIREs Cognitive Science 11 (3). 2019.
    Theory of mind, also known as mindreading, refers to our ability to attribute mental states to agents in order to make sense of and interact with other agents. Recently, theorists in this literature have advanced a broad conception of mindreading. In particular, psychologists and philosophers have examined how we attribute knowledge, intention, mentalistically-loaded stereotypes, and personality traits to others. Moreover, the diversity of our goals in a social interaction – precision, efficienc…Read more
  •  215
    The Nature of Empathy
    with Hannah Read and Rita Svetlova
    In Felipe De Brigard & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (eds.), Philosophy of Neursocience, Mit Press. forthcoming.
    Empathy is many things to many people. Depending on who you ask, it is feeling what another person feels, feeling bad for another person’s suffering, understanding what another person feels, imagining yourself in another person’s situation and figuring out what you would feel, or your brain activating as if you were experiencing the emotion another person is experiencing. These are just some of the various notions of empathy that are at play in philosophy, cognitive science, neuroscience, develo…Read more
  •  178
    Mirror neurons are not evidence for the Simulation Theory
    Synthese 189 (3): 515-534. 2012.
    Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in theories of mindreading. New discoveries in neuroscience have revitalized the languishing debate. The discovery of so-called mirror neurons has revived interest particularly in the Simulation Theory (ST) of mindreading. Both ST proponents and theorists studying mirror neurons have argued that mirror neurons are strong evidence in favor of ST over Theory Theory (TT). In this paper I argue against the prevailing view that mirror neurons are evid…Read more
  •  178
    Imagination and other scripts
    Philosophical Studies 143 (3): 291-314. 2009.
    One version of the Humean Theory of Motivation holds that all actions can be causally explained by reference to a belief–desire pair. Some have argued that pretense presents counter-examples to this principle, as pretense is instead causally explained by a belief-like imagining and a desire-like imagining. We argue against this claim by denying imagination the power of motivation. Still, we allow imagination a role in guiding action as a script . We generalize the script concept to show how thin…Read more
  •  148
    Introduction to Debates on Embodied Social Cognition
    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (4): 431-448. 2012.
    Embodied social cognition (ESC) aims to explicate how our embodiment shapes our knowledge of others, and in what this knowledge of others consists. Although there is much diversity amongst ESC accounts, common to all these accounts is the idea that our normal everyday interactions consist in non-mentalistic embodied engagements. In recent years, several theorists have developed and defended innovative and controversial accounts of ESC. These accounts challenge, and offer deflationary alternative…Read more
  •  138
    Beliefs and biases
    Synthese 199 (3-4): 7575-7594. 2021.
    Philosophers are divided over whether implicit biases are beliefs. Critics of the belief model of implicit bias argue that empirical data show that implicit biases are habitual but unstable and not sensitive to evidence. They are not rational or consistently action-guiding like beliefs are supposed to be. In contrast, proponents of the belief model of implicit bias argue that they are stable enough, sensitive to some evidence, and do guide our actions, albeit haphazardly sometimes. With the help…Read more
  •  125
    Andy Clark's Supersizing the Mind begins as a manifesto in which the components of an embodied theory of mind are carefully moved into place, proceeds to a defense of these components from recent critical attacks, and ends with words of caution to those who would seek to extract too much from the embodied perspective. Readers unfamiliar with Clark's earlier works are likely to find the result dazzling -- an exciting, novel, and coherent conception of the mind that dares one to abandon nearly eve…Read more
  •  104
    Response to Evan Westra’s review of “How We Understand Others”
    Philosophical Psychology 33 (6): 883-887. 2020.
    In this reply to Evan Westra's review of my book How We Understand Others, I discuss the methodological limitations of determining how accurate our mindreading abilities really are.
  •  99
    How I Know What You Know
    In Jennifer Lackey & Aidan McGlynn (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Social Epistemology, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    Mentalizing is our ability to infer agents’ mental states. Attributing beliefs, knowledge, desires, and intentions are frequently discussed forms of mentalizing. Attributing mentalistically loaded stereotypes, personality traits, and evaluating others’ rationality are forms of mentalizing, as well. This broad conception of mentalizing has interesting and important implications for social epistemology. Several topics in social epistemology involve judgments about others’ knowledge, rationality, a…Read more
  •  58
    In our everyday social interactions, we try to make sense of what people are thinking, why they act as they do, and what they are likely to do next. This process is called mindreading. Mindreading, Shannon Spaulding argues in this book, is central to our ability to understand and interact with others. Philosophers and cognitive scientists have converged on the idea that mindreading involves theorizing about and simulating others’ mental states. She argues that this view of mindreading is limitin…Read more
  •  51
    Traditional theories of mindreading tend to focus exclusively on attributing beliefs and desires to other agents. The literature emphasizes belief attribution in particular, with numerous debates over when children develop the concept of belief, how neurotypical adult humans attribute beliefs to others, whether non-human animals have the concept of belief, etc. I describe a growing school of thought that the heavy focus on belief leaves traditional theories of mindreading unable to account for t…Read more
  •  44
    Conceptual Centrality and Implicit Bias
    Mind and Language 33 (1): 95-111. 2018.
    How are biases encoded in our representations of social categories? Philosophical and empirical discussions of implicit bias overwhelmingly focus on salient or statistical associations between target features and representations of social categories. These are the sorts of associations probed by the Implicit Association Test and various priming tasks. In this paper, we argue that these discussions systematically overlook an alternative way in which biases are encoded, that is, in the dependency …Read more
  •  36
    Implicit Social Cognition
    In The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Implicit Cognition, Routledge. forthcoming.
    Positing implicit social cognitive processes is common in the social cognition literature. We see it in discussions of theories of mentalizing, empathy, and infants' social-cognitive capacities. However, there is little effort to articulate what counts as implicit social cognition in general, so theorizing about implicit social cognition is extremely disparate across each of these sub-domains. In this paper, I argue that Michael Brownstein’s account of implicit cognition promises to be a fruitfu…Read more