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ProtoSociology

Volume 14, 2000

Folk Psychology, Mental Concepts and the Ascription of Attitudes

Philip Pettit
Pages 26-38
DOI: 10.5840/protosociology2000142

How the Folk Understand Folk Psychology

Let folk psychology consist in the network of concepts, and associated beliefs, in terms of which we make sense of minded performance. This paper addresses the question of how we, the folk, come to understand those concepts: this, as distinct from the separate question as to how we come to apply them in the interpretation of particular minds, our own and those of others. The argument is that even though the network of concepts is akin to a set of theoretical, interdefined terms, still it is possible to explain how we, the folk, understand them without suggesting that we are proto-scientists. The understanding required can be based on a sort of know-how: that is, a practical, untheoretical, form of knowledge.

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