Mental State Attribution for Interactionism

Uku Tooming


Interactionists about folk psychology argue that embodied interactions constitute the primary way we understand one another and thus oppose more standard accounts according to which the understanding is mostly achieved through belief and desire attributions. However, also interactionists need to explain why people sometimes still resort to attitude ascription. In this paper, it is argued that this explanatory demand presents a genuine challenge for interactionism and that a popular proposal which claims that belief and desire attributions are needed to make sense of counternormative behavior is problematic. Instead, the most promising conception of belief and desire ascriptions is the communicative conception which locates them in the context of declarative and imperative communication, respectively. Such a communication can take both verbal and non-verbal form.


folk psychology; social cognition; beliefs; desires; communication

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2017 Uku Tooming

Online ISSN: 1736-5899 | Print ISSN: 2228-110X