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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Psychological realism and the simulation theory of belief attribution Woudzia, Lisa Ann


The presumption of individualism within the philosophy of psychology has been challenged by Tyler Burge who, using arguments like those used by Hilary Putnam against internalistic theories of meaning, points out that the determination of content of one's beliefs depends, at least in part, upon external factors. With the demise of individualism comes the demise of supervenience, and, one would think, with the demise of supervenience comes the demise of psychological realism. This thesis represents an approach to defending psychological realism in light of the falsity of supervenience. Psychological realism can be maintained, it is argued, through the adoption of the 'simulation theory' which claims that ascriptions of psychological states are based upon a kind of process rather than a theory. This represents an alternative to the traditional view, the 'theory theory', which claims that folk psychology is a theory and psychological states are posits in that theory. It is argued that the simulation theory represents a plausible alternative to the traditional view and that this alternative can accommodate the externalist concerns raised by Burge and others without sacrificing realism.

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