theory of mind [was: Shared references]

[From Bruce Nevin (2004.07.15 08:14 EDT)]

Bill Powers (2004.07.13.1604 MDT)--

···

At 04:37 PM 7/13/2004 -0600, Bill Powers wrote:

This is a basis for understanding and modeling "theory of mind", that is,
control of perceptions of another's perceptions, a cognitive capacity that
most children develop at about age 4.

Absolutely not. Children develop the idea that others have minds, and that
those minds might be independent of theirs, but they have no more notion
of what is in those minds than anyone else. It's only a guess. They can
only deal with what they perceive to be in someone else's mind, and it
takes a lifetime to develop theories of mind that stand up under even a
casual challenge. And they remain forever theories.

Have you decided that theories and guesses are not perceptions?

If theories and guesses are perceptions (and I can't see how they are not),
then a theory of someone else's perceptions is a perception of someone
else's perceptions.

         /Bruce Nevin

[From Bruce Gregory (2004.0715.0921)]

Bruce Nevin (2004.07.15 08:14 EDT)

of Bill Powers

Have you decided that theories and guesses are not perceptions?

If theories and guesses are perceptions (and I can't see how they are not),
then a theory of someone else's perceptions is a perception of someone
else's perceptions.

Theories and guesses are perceptions. My theory of your perceptions is a perception, but not a perception of your perceptions. It is a perception constructed of my own lower level perceptions.

Bruce Gregory

Certainty has more appeal than truth.

[From Bill Powers (2004.07.15.0737 MDT)]

Bruce Nevin (2004.07.15 08:14 EDT)--

Have you decided that theories and guesses are not perceptions?

If theories and guesses are perceptions (and I can't see how they are not),
then a theory of someone else's perceptions is a perception of someone
else's perceptions.

You never perceive anyone else's perceptions but your own.Even what you
believe to be your perception of someone else's perception is strictly your
own perception. That diagram you keep drawing is a perception in your head
-- I know how I see it, but I don't know how you see it. You may have a
guess (which is a perception of yours) about what someone else is
perceiving, but it is still a guess in your own head, and is not in the
other person's head. If two people have guess-perceptions about a third
person's perceptions, and they are different (as they are most likely to
be), is the third person having both perceptions at once? Or are only the
perceptions that have passed a rigorous, final-word, Test to be considered
perceptions of someone else's perceptions, while the others are misperceptions?

Or is it just conceivably possible that every person has a unique internal
representation of the world, unlike anyone else's, yet capable of
satisfying every test of mutual agreement?

Please, prove to me that this is impossible. I'd love to believe that, but
not just because I'd love to believe it.

Best,

Bill P.