How We Understand Others
Philosophy and Social Cognition
Social cognition includes the ways we explain, predict, interpret, and influence other people. The dominant philosophical theories of social cognition–the theory-theory and the simulation theory–have provided focused accounts of mindreading, the more specific practice of ascribing beliefs, desires, and intentions to others in order to predict and explain their behavior. In How We Understand Others: Philosophy and Social Cognition (Routledge, 2018), Shannon Spaulding draws on social psychological research and kindred spirits in philosophy to argue for an expansion of this traditional focus. In her Model Theory, mindreading includes other methods we use to understand others, such as stereotypes and scripts, and other goals of these practices, such as strengthening our in-group social relationships. Spaulding, who is assistant professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University, also explores some of the implications of her view for understanding issues in epistemology and ethics, in particular epistemic injustice.