In The Concept of Mind, Gilbert Ryle argued that a more sophisticated understanding of the dispositional nature of ‘intelligent capacities’ could bolster philosophical resistance to the tempting view that the human mind is possessed of metaphysically ‘occult’ powers and properties. This temptation is powerful in the context of accounting for the special qualities of responsible agency. Incompatibilists indulge the temptation; compatibilists resist it, using a variety of strategies. One recent strategy, reminiscent of Ryle’s, is to exploit a more sophisticated understanding of dispositional properties to account for these qualities. But ‘new dispositionalists’ run up against a ‘hard problem’ that threatens the approach. This paper argues that the threat may be averted by embracing a yet more radical ‘Rylean’ view of the distinctive dispositional nature of intelligent capacities.
This paper is divided into two parts. In Section 1, I explore and defend a “regulative" "view” of folk-psychology as against the “standard view” (encompassing both theory- theory and simulation theory, as well as hybrid variations). On the regulative view, folk-psychology is conceptualized in fundamentally interpersonal terms as a “mind- making” practice through which we come to form and regulate our minds in accordance with a rich array of socially shared and socially maintained sense-making norms. It is not, as the standard view maintains, simply an epistemic capacity for coming to know about the mental states and dispositions already there. Importantly, the regulative view can meet and beat the standard at its own epistemic game. But it also does more. In Section 2, I show how the regulative view makes progress on two other problems that remain puzzling on the standard view: (1) the problem of “ﬁrst- person authority” – accounting for the special features of self-knowledge; and (2) the problem of “reactive responsiveness” – accounting for our deep concern with calling" "one another to account for normatively untoward behaviour, both generally and in the moral domain.
What do we ordinarily perceive when we see a person? This paper examines the virtuoso capacity of typical human beings to see others as minded – as possessed of a rich variety of mental states that animate their activities. The central message of the paper is that we become adept at perceiving the minds of others through developing our expertise in becoming so minded ourselves. “Normal psychological knowing” is what I call a “practice-dependent” skill or expertise. The paper shows this approach deals overcomes certain difficulties often associated with more standard explanations of our capacity for knowing other minds (simulation theory and theory-theory).