Talk:Folk psychology

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Q: What relation does this have to common sense? Because it sounds very similar.

A: Another term for Folk Psychology is "common sense psychology". It's just common sense applied to psychological questions.


The entire 'manifestation' section seems to take Folk Psychology as 'pseudoscience' when it is instead the populist account of the human mind (i.e. a belief that emotion is real and that the human mind is not replicable / not formalisable).

--- —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:11, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

The article seems to make Fodor both a proponent and an opponent for the use of folk psychology in the future. Then he is contrasted with the Churchlands. Which one is it? --Tmh 01:03, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)


We seem to be taking for granted here that folk psychology theory is an accurate model of the human psyche. Agree that it is a compelling theory, but considering we still have not been able to satisfactorily determine the nature of the consious mind, perhaps we should be careful of referring to the existence and nature of folk psychology as fact?Shaggorama 08:21, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Dai Jones and Jonathan Elcock explain that although the search for explainations of behavior or ascriptions of personality characteristics are variously termed 'common-sense psychology', 'folk psychology', 'lay psychology', and 'everyday psychology', as if these terms are interchangable, each of these terms have specialist meanings, and proffer distinctly different approaches to psychologizing. The distinctions lay in the difference between what people do every day and the discipline of scientific Psychology.

"While disciplinary explainations of everyday psychologizing are interesting, they obscure the peculiar relationship between the discipline of Psychology and its subject matter." The problems here arose due to everyday psychology lacking a sientific basis, and therefore having a tendency to be inaccurate. Psychology as a scientific discipline developed in part to address that very rational. As Psychology developed as a scientific discipline, it adapted the language of the older and better established sister scientific disciplines. So while the initial development of Psychology as a scientific discipline was developed to inform the public inwhich it studied, the very language used was itself unable to inform that public because of the complexities that only the highly educated could discern. "Psychology has by and large failed to provide the lay person with the knowledge they need to improve their everyday psychologizing." Jones Elcock at p217.

To address scientific Psychology effectively creating "a social technocracy, where a priveldged few are possessed of a body of scientific knowledge that can be used to explain behavior", Psychology evolved, or branched, into distinct approaches. This branching of the discipline to reflexively inform the subjects it studies, is a causation of a psychology that produced popular self help books in layman terms. Everyday psychology, a topic of interest within social Psychology, is only concerned with interpersonal relationships. As Jones Elcock note, it is relatively rare for lay people to discuss the mechanisims underlaying perception or the processes of speech production; rather, everyday psychologizing takes a particular interest in areas of attribution and personality judgments. These areas of social Psychology commonly use the metaphor of 'the [lay] person as the psychologists'.

Folk Psychology on the other hand has a more technical meaning and has even developed its own language; Folk Psychology Language (fpl)and is more in line with a cognitive approach to Psychology. Folk Psychology deals more with the underlying motivations for the behaviors that everyday pschology predicts and describes. While folk psychology parallels cognitve psychology, these two approaches also have distinctions that are worth noting. Cognitive psychology attempts to describe information processing, whereas this approach to folk psychology attempts to describe person perception.

As a mere student of the world around me, I have no formal education to rely upon in my discernment, and thus must rely on well referenced texts such as that authored by Dai Jones and Jonathan Elcock: HISTORY AND THEORIES of PSYCHOLOGY; A CRITICAL PERSPECTIVE (2001) Oxford Univeristy Press Inc.,where you will find the above discussion in chapter 11. This text also provides many relevent research guides at the end of each chapter. I would recommend this text for any student-of-the-world.

I believe that by end of this text, Shaggorama may find that folk psychology (in any semantic context)was developed as a reflexive discipline and does not near a definitive dogma that can be accurately explained by discourse analysis. Each time the human mind has its concious explained, that mind (arguably through a physiological process) will then rise to a new level of conciousness, infinitely. We can describe the history of conciousness, but will never be able to predict and explain the future thereof.Jentingh1 (talk) 11:22, 14 February 2009 (UTC)


Folk psychology (sometimes called naïve psychology or common sense psychology) is the psychological theory implicit in our everyday ascriptions of others' actions, and includes concepts such as belief ("he thinks that Peter is wise"), desire ("she wants that piece of cake"), fear ("Alex is afraid of spiders") and hope ("she hopes that he is on time today"). Such ascriptions are collectively known as propositional attitudes.

I've just ran across this article here and noticed immediately that it explicitly endorses the view eliminative materialist view that folk phychology is, in fact, a theory. That seems to be a rather severe, if probably unintentional violation of the NPOV policy, no?? Let me explain: the question of whether or not folk psyhcology can be considered a theory on a par with other theories (even though erroneous ones) such as geocentrism and alchemy is oen of the fundmantal points of controversy between eliminativists and some of their opponents. The veiw that folk physchlogy is a theory has a name, as a matter of fact: the theory-theory (or theory-theory of mind). There are some (I can't of the names off the top of my head) important philosophers who opposes precisly the idea that folk psyhcology can be considered a systematic theory which can be judges based on its generalizability, predictive accuracy, internal logical consistency, fecundity, and so on. So, it's important to change the wording here right off the bat. Let's see what I can think up as an alternative formulation--Lacatosias 16:32, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

When Alison Gopnik discusses the "Theory theory" in scholarly papers with other psychologists at prestigious universities, such as Carnegie-Mellon and MIT, in the context of cognitive maps, Bayes nets, causal maps, etc., and in her latest (bestselling) book The Philosophical Baby, she's not discussing Folk psychology, yet entering "Theory theory" in the search box redirects us here, which is a great disappointment. Unfree (talk) 20:05, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

fixed up[edit]

I just corrected the error and added a few paragrpahs of explnation just off the top of my head. I was in a hurry, so please check for typos and such. I hope that helps clear things up. --Lacatosias 17:41, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Inaccurate on Dennett[edit]

"In the view of Daniel Dennet, propositional attitudes are simply dispositions to behave in certain ways." WHERE does Dennett avow this? Please find a source IN DENNETT before putting words in his mouth.

I believe this is inaccurate (POV at best). You could make it stick on Ryle, but it's not what Dennett says about the PAs. What Dennett says about the PAs is that (for example) one believes that P just in case one can be predictively attributed the belief that P. Troublemsome though that might be, turning it into "PAs are simply dispositions to behave" can't be accurate. Dennett is quite open about the interaction of beliefs and desires in producing behavior. He would not, then, attempt an analysis of "belief that P" into tendencies to do certain things given certain conditions; the behavioral entailments of belief that P obviously determine on one's desires as well. In the "worst" case, Dennett holds that entire ascribed mental states are dispositional in character. But this much is not necessarily obvious either, since Dennett does not anywhere (that I have read in any of his work on the Intentional Stance) identify mental states with dispositions, he just says that their truth conditions lie in the predictive success of attributing them.

I tried to clean up some of this, but this page is frankly a mess and needs a rewrite. I wish I had the time 13:20, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree this is a mess. It's hard to understand what, if anything, is being said. (talk) 09:45, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Illogical characterization[edit]

"If X wants that Y, and believes that Z is necessary for Y, then X will do Z."

That's illogical. Look at the contradictory ways Y and Z appear in the statement. Without knowing what it means, I suggest that "that Z" be replaced by "that doing z" and that "that Y" be replaced by "Y to occur" and "for Y" be replaced by "for achieving Y". Then we'd have:

"If X wants Y to occur and believes that doing Z is necessary for achieving Y, then X will do Z." But what a ridiculous formalism for such a simple statement! It's equivalent to "X will do whatever he thinks he has to do." Unfree (talk) 20:28, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Folk Psycholgy about an understandable language.[edit]

The foundation of folk psychology is giving the layman an understanding. When the explanation needs explaining, then the principles of folk psychology have been offended. Thus I agree, Z will do what it takes to get Y, if the motivation exists. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 19:54, 21 December 2009 (UTC).

POV in Crane section[edit]

The following sentence is POV (in addition to being improperly formatted): "Tim Crane refutes each of these claims in his book The Mechanical Mind." For him to have refuted it, the view must be false, but that's the kind of POV Wikipedia doesn't engage in. I wouldn't be surprised if Crane did refute it, but an encyclopedia shouldn't say that he did unless philosophers have come to a consensus that he has. Otherwise, it should say that he has attempted to refute it or that he has argued against it. There should be no implication of his success in doing so. Also, book titles should be italicized, and there should be a citation for the book. Parableman (talk) 12:53, 25 August 2010 (UTC)


This multiplicative function accounting for total deviations from the ideal can be very advantageous for the purposes of consolidating a more comprehensive domain of psychology.
The tone of this article seems to contain a lot of jargon that limits the accessibility of non-philosophers. I would like to edit some of it, and some of it is useful context, but the editing required to improve readability overall seems extensive to me, and I wasn't willing to rewrite a considerable portion of the article (especially as I am not an expert) without jumping into the talk page. Dogen83 (talk) 20:04, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

The 1st sentence seems false (as of 3-7-15)[edit]

Folks: The first sentence of this entry reads: "In philosophy of mind and cognitive science, folk psychology, or commonsense psychology is an inborn human capacity to explain and predict the behavior and mental state of other people." This sentence seems wrong to me.

1. I doubt that in general psychologists and philosophers of science think "folk psychology" is necessarily innate, or "inborn" (which my Merriam-Webster says is a synonym for "innate"). That is because whether or not it is innate is debated in these fields, so it cannot generally be presupposed as part of the term's meaning.

2. The claim that it is innate in the first sentence is supported by a reference to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry "Folk Psychology as a Theory." But if you read the entry (at you will see that it does not say that at all.

3. In fact, if you read the first half of that article, you will see that whether or not folk psychology is innate is a major controversy in the field.

The sentence should be changed from "is an inborn human capacity" to "is a human capacity" which is the wording used in the SEP entry. (Also, it could use a comma after "or commonsense psychology.") Any comments before I make the change?

JohnintheBronx JohnintheBronx (talk) 23:46, 7 March 2015 (UTC)