1st Edition

The Scientific Credibility of Folk Psychology

By Garth J.O. Fletcher Copyright 1995
    128 Pages
    by Psychology Press

    122 Pages
    by Psychology Press

    The examination and evaluation of folk psychology and lay cognition has been carried out predominantly in two domains: personality and social psychology, and the philosophy of psychology. Yet, work in these two areas has largely proceeded independently. The assumption on which this volume is founded is that a proper comparison between scientific cognition and folk ways of thought rests on an adequate study of both science and folk psychology. With this in mind, the author provides an analysis of the intricate, and often hidden, links between these two spheres. In doing so, the book poses two related questions. First, what is the nature of folk psychology and how is it related to scientific psychology? Second, of what should the relationship between folk psychology and scientific psychology consist? In answering these two questions, the author draws extensively from research and arguments in social psychology and social cognition, cognitive science, and the philosophy of science.

    The interdisciplinary approach gives the book a unique perspective that will be of interest to scholars working in social psychology, cognitive science, and philosophy of science. Written in a concise and accessible style, this volume is suitable for undergraduate and graduate students as well as a general psychological audience.

    Contents: Preface. Folk Psychology: Crock or Touchstone? The Nature of Folk Psychology. Folk Psychology of the Mind. Uses and Abuses of Folk Psychology in Scientific Psychology. The Nature of Scientific Cognition: A Realist Account. The Scientific Status of Folk Psychology 1: Lay Aims, Values and Rules. The Scientific Status of Folk Psychology 2: Lay Theories. Summary, Caveats, and Morals.


    Garth Fletcher

    "...he (Garth Fletcher) presents what he calls a realist account of scientific cognition that describes what good scientists really do. He then compares lay judgement with this model of science, and finds that "folk psychology is surprisingly scientific".
    Contemporary Psychology.

    "...the most wide-ranging discussion of folk psychology to appear...one of the most accessible, written in clear and graceful prose without unnecessary recourse to jargon. Fletcher succeeds in providing a useful introduction to issues on folk psychology and eliminativism that will be of interest to both philosophers and psychologists."
    American Journal of Psychology

    "This is a fascinating volume with much of importance to say about intuitive judgment, philosophy of science, and the many places where the two come together. It is closely reasoned, exhibits impressive scholarship, and perhaps best of all, is written in a clear and elegant style that is a pleasure to read. I both learned from and hugely enjoyed this book."
    David C. Funder
    University of California, Riverside

    "Garth Fletcher's The Scientific Credibility of Folk Psychology brings a refreshing breath of fresh air to current debates about the scientific status and merit of folk psychology, and is bound to have a very significant impact. In a short work that is totally devoid of philosophical dogmatism and ideology, Fletcher manages to disentangle and distinguish the various distinct but interrelated conceptual and theoretical issues that are too often confused and conflated by both philosophers and psychologists.
    "Perhaps because Fletcher has no theoretical axe to grind, this ambitious work succeeds as no other in clarifying the conceptual contours of the present debate, as well as making its own significant contribution to it. Possibly the best work written to date on the subject, and one that will undoubtedly serve as a valuable resource for both philosophers and psychologists."

    John D. Greenwood
    The City University of New York