Folk Psychology

Stephen Stich, Shaun B Nichols

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter first explains why folk psychology has played such an important role in recent philosophy of mind. It then distinguishes two different accounts of folk psychology, and argues that functionalists should prefer the mindreading account on which folk psychology is the rich body of information or theory that underlies people's skill in attributing mental states and in predicting and explaining behavior. It considers the challenge posed by simulation theory, that there is no such thing as folk psychology; and presents reasons for accepting a hybrid account of mindreading in which some aspects of that skill are explained by appeal to information-rich processes, while other aspects are explained by simulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCollected Papers: Mind and Language, 1972-2010
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780190267513, 9780199734108
StatePublished - Sep 22 2011
Externally publishedYes



  • Folk psychology
  • Mindreading
  • Philosophy of mind
  • Simulation theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Cite this

Stich, S., & Nichols, S. B. (2011). Folk Psychology. In Collected Papers: Mind and Language, 1972-2010 (Vol. 1). Oxford University Press.