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Department of Philosophy

Recent Events, Seminars and Lectures

Will McNeil (York) - The Inferentialist's Behaviour

20th October 2011, 11:30, Room 005, 48/49 Old Elvet

Weekly Research Seminar.

Please note that this seminar was held in room 005, 48/49 Old Elvet, Durham.  Refreshments were served from 11am with the talk commencing  at 11.30am.

Title: The Inferentialist's Behaviour.


The Inferentialist claims that when we know about another's mental state, this is because in the circumstances, the mental state about which we know best explains their behaviour. But what counts as a good explanation of some phenomenon depends on how that phenomenon is identified. So the question for the Inferentialist is - how are behaviours identified, such that mental states best explain them?

In this paper, I question whether there is a way of classing behaviour such that mental states can play this role, on each and every occasion where we gain knowledge of another's mental state. I tentatively conclude that this is evidence not for scepticism, but for the view that such knowledge may sometimes be non-inferential.