Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 371-393

First online:

Folk Psychology, Consciousness, and Context Effects

  • Adam AricoAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, University of Arizona Email author 

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Traditionally, the philosophical study of Folk Psychology has focused on how ordinary people (i.e., those without formal training in academic fields like Psychology, Cognitive Science, Philosophy of Mind, etc.) go about attributing mental states. Those working in this tradition have tended to focus primarily on intentional states, like beliefs and desires. Recently, though a body of work has emerged in the growing field of Experimental Philosophy that focuses on folk attributions of mental states that are not paradigmatically considered intentional. This emerging discussion is concerned with figuring out how (and whether) ordinary people go about attributing mental states of qualitative experience, or what philosophers might call states of phenomenal consciousness. This paper briefly describes some of the primary works in the existing experimental philosophy literature and presents new experimental data that weigh on those hypotheses. Finally, it offers a cognitive model of the processes underlying attributions of mental states, called the Agency Model.