Next Article in Journal / Special Issue
Cajal’s Law of Dynamic Polarization: Mechanism and Design
Previous Article in Journal
Space and Time as Relations: The Theoretical Approach of Leibniz
Previous Article in Special Issue
Empirical Support for Perceptual Conceptualism
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Philosophies 2018, 3(2), 10; doi:10.3390/philosophies3020010

How to Make Correct Predictions in False Belief Tasks without Attributing False Beliefs: An Analysis of Alternative Inferences and How to Avoid Them

1
School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3800, Australia
2
Laboratory of Experimental Philosophy and Cognition Studies, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos, Sao Leopoldo 93.022-750, Brazil
3
Graduate Program in Philosophy, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos, São Leopoldo 93.022-750, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 February 2018 / Accepted: 16 March 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophy of Cognitive Science: Selected Papers from WPCS 2017)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [37373 KB, uploaded 10 April 2018]   |  

Abstract

The use of new paradigms of false belief tasks (FBT) allowed to reduce the age of children who pass the test from the previous 4 years in the standard version to only 15 months or even a striking 6 months in the nonverbal modification. These results are often taken as evidence that infants already possess an—at least implicit—theory of mind (ToM). We criticize this inferential leap on the grounds that inferring a ToM from the predictive success on a false belief task requires to assume as premise that a belief reasoning is a necessary condition for correct action prediction. It is argued that the FBT does not satisfactorily constrain the predictive means, leaving room for the use of belief-independent inferences (that can rely on the attribution of non-representational mental states or the consideration of behavioral patterns that dispense any reference to other minds). These heuristics, when applied to the FBT, can achieve the same predictive success of a belief-based inference because information provided by the test stimulus allows the recognition of particular situations that can be subsumed by their ‘laws’. Instead of solving this issue by designing a single experimentum crucis that would render unfeasible the use of non-representational inferences, we suggest the application of a set of tests in which, although individually they can support inferences dissociated from a ToM, only an inference that makes use of false beliefs is able to correctly predict all the outcomes. View Full-Text
Keywords: false belief task; theory of mind; philosophy of mind false belief task; theory of mind; philosophy of mind
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Perera, R.A.; Albornoz Stein, S.I. How to Make Correct Predictions in False Belief Tasks without Attributing False Beliefs: An Analysis of Alternative Inferences and How to Avoid Them. Philosophies 2018, 3, 10.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Philosophies EISSN 2409-9287 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top