Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Adjudicating the Simulation Theory/Theory Theory Debate (With Especial Attention to the Case of Autism Spectrum Disorders)
by Parrillo, Susan M., Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2016, 270; 10102273
Abstract (Summary)

Philosophers, cognitive scientists and developmental psychologists largely agree that we understand mental states and use them to explain and predict the behaviors of ourselves and of others (i.e. we ‘mindread’) by using a cognitive capacity known as the theory of mind (henceforth, ‘ToM’). However, a question remains as to what, exactly, underpins the ToM ability thereby allowing us such great accuracy in our first-person and third-person reports. My dissertation is an adjudication of the ongoing debate between two competing theories, each of which claims to have the best explanation of ToM. These two theories of ToM are known as the theory-theory (henceforth, the ‘TT’) and the simulation theory (henceforth, the ‘ST’). Because it is thought by cognitive developmental psychologists that autism spectrum disorders (henceforth, ‘ASD’) result from a ToM impairment or deficit, I pay especial attention to the case of ASD, using the features of the disorder, to adjudicate the debate. I suggest that the particular deficits and talents associated with ASD provide reasons to favor the ST over the TT in general and to favor an account of the ST that includes introspection over an account of the ST that excludes it.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Armour-Garb, Bradley
Commitee: D'Cruz, Jason, McClamrock, Ron
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Philosophy
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 77/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy, Cognitive psychology
Keywords: Autism, Simulation theory, Theory of mind, Theory theory
Publication Number: 10102273
ISBN: 9781339660813
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