Other Minds pp 41-70 | Cite as

The Analogical Inference to Other Minds

Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 246)


If we all have the problem of other minds, if no theory of mind manages either to avoid the problem or provide a solution, if there is no way of avoiding crucial use of one’s own case, and if a scientific inference fails, on its own, to justify our belief in other minds, then it is to be expected there will be renewed interest in the (hybrid) analogical inference to other minds. We often make do, in philosophy at any rate, with what we have, and the absence of an alternative is, in philosophy, generally fatally seductive. For many philosophers, scientific inference was embraced to deliver them, if not from the bottomless pit of scepticism, at any rate from the analogical inference to other minds.


Mental State Behavioural State Inductive Argument Analogical Argument Head Louse 
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Notes to Chapter Four

  1. 1.
    This point is elaborated later in this chapter.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    We also believe, of course, that there is exactly one person to each living human body; but this is not something we should expect the analogical inference to other minds to establish.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    R.I. Sikora, ‘The Argument from Analogy is not an Argument for Other Minds’, American Philosophical Quarterly, vol.14 (1977) pp.137–41.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations’ in V.C. Chappell (ed.), The Philosophy of Mind (Prentice-Hall, 1962).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    See Donald Davidson, ‘Psychology as philosophy’, in J. Glover (ed.), The Philosophy of Mind (OUP, 1976), and also his ‘Mental States’, in L. Foster and J.W. Swanson (eds.), Experience and Theory (Duckworth, 1970); Paul Ziff, ‘The Simplicity of Other Minds’, Journal of Philosophy, vol.62 (1965) pp. 575–84; Sydney Shoemaker, ‘Ziff s Other Minds’, Journal of Philosophy, vol.62 (1965) pp. 587–9; Jaegwon Kim, ‘On the Psycho-Physical Identity Theory’, American Philosophical Quarterly, vol.3 (1966) pp. 227–35; David Lewis, ‘An Argument for the Identity Theory’, Journal of Philosophy, vol.63 (1966), pp. 17–25.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    My response to Sikora is a revised version of my ‘A Multiple Case Inference and Other Minds’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, vol.57 (1979) pp. 330–6.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Don Locke, Myself and Others (OUP, 1968) p. 49.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Norman Malcolm, ‘Knowledge of Other Minds’, in V.C. Chappell (ed.), The Philosophy of Mind (Prentice-Hall, 1962) pp. 151–9 (see p. 152).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    J. Day, Inductive Probability (Routledge, 1962) p. 64.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    R.J. Pargetter, ‘The Scientific Inference to Other Minds’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, vol.62 (1984) p. 160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy, vol.54 (1976) pp. 158–61.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Op. cit. Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    ‘In Defense of Type Materialism’, Synthese, vol.59 (1984) pp. 295–320. See pp. 310–14.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Carl Wellman, ‘Our Criteria for Third Person Ps cholo ical Sentences’, Journal o Philosophy vol.58 (1961) pp. 281–93 (see pp. 292–3).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Don Locke, op.cit., pp. 49–50.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Don Locke, ‘Just What is Wrong with the Argument from Analogy?’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, vol.51 (1973) pp. 153–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    My response to Don Locke’s response is essentially that to be found in Alec Hyslop and Frank Jackson, ‘A Reply to Don Locke’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, vol.53 (1975) pp. 68–9.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    The locus classicus is Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind (Hutchinson, 1949) see p. 52.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
  20. 20.
    Stuart Hampshire, ‘The Analogy of Feelin’, Mind, vol.61 1952 pp. 1–12 (see p. 4).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Norman Malcolm, op.Cit.. p. 153Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    V.C. Chappell (ed.), The Philosophy of Mind (Prentice Hall, 1962) p. 3.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Peter Alexander, ‘Other People’s Experiences’, Aristotelian Society Proceedings, vol. 51 (1950/51) pp. 24–46 (see pp. 43–4). Alexander is considering, without definitely endorsing, this objection.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Alvin Plantinga, God and Other Minds (Cornell, 1967 248)pGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    John Wisdom, Other Minds, 2nd ed. (Blackwell, 1965).Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    John Wisdom, ‘The Concept of Mind’, Other Minds, op. cit., pp. 232–44 (see p. 237)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Plantinga, op, cit., pp. 245–68. See also his ‘Induction and Other Minds’, Review of Metaphysics, vol.19 (1965–1966) pp. 441–61 and Michael Slote’s reply in Review of Metaphysics, vol.20 (1966–1967) pp. 341–60 and Plantinga’s reply to Slote in the same issue. I discuss Plantinga’s criticism of the analogical inference to other minds because, apart from being an unusually penetrating one, it seems to me that Slote’s re 1 to it failsGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    I owe this suggestion to John Fox.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    See Hector Neri-Castañeda, ‘Consciousness and Behaviour’, in Intentionality, Minds and Perception, ed., Castañeda (Wayne State, 1966) pp. 132–3.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Karl Ameriks, ‘Plantinga and Other Minds’, Southern Journal of Philosophy, vol.16 (1973) pp. 285–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Ibid., p. 286.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    It should be noted that Ameriks is defending the analogical inference to other minds in this article by constructing a version which complies with his principles.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Sydney Shoemaker, Self-knowledge and self-identity (Cornell, 1963) p. 168.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.La Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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