Date of Award

5-10-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Neil Van Leeuwen

Abstract

Thinking about others' conscious experiences (emotional feelings, perceptual experience, moods, etc.) seems commonplace in human social life, yet this aspect of social cognition has been largely ignored by social psychologists and philosophers. In this paper, I develop the beginnings of an account of how we understand other conscious minds. My view builds off of the dominant hybrid theory, which is the view that people use two distinct processes to think about others' mental states: theorizing and mental simulation. My main argument is that we can attribute conscious experiences to others using either simulation or theorizing, but simulations are better mental representations of others' conscious experiences than instances of theorizing. Simulations thereby provide us with a deeper understanding of others' experiences than theorizing does.

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