Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 27–40 | Cite as

On-line false belief understanding qua folk psychology?



In this paper, I address Mitchell Herschbach’s arguments against the phenomenological critics of folk psychology. Central to Herschbach’s arguments is the introduction of Michael Wheeler’s distinction between ‘on-line’ and ‘off-line’ intelligence to the debate on social understanding. Herschbach uses this distinction to describe two arguments made by the phenomenological critics. The first is that folk psychology is exclusively off-line and mentalistic. The second is that social understanding is on-line and non-mentalistic. To counter the phenomenological critics, Herschbach argues for the existence of on-line false belief understanding. This demonstrates that folk psychology is not restricted to off-line forms and that folk psychology is more widespread than the phenomenological critics acknowledge. In response, I argue the on-line/off-line distinction is a problematic way of demarcating the phenomenological critics from orthodox accounts of folk psychology.


Folk psychology On-line/Off-line cognition Phenomenological critics Social understanding 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyDurham UniversityDurhamUK

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