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Leslie, Sarah-Jane, , . Carving up the Social World with Generics
2014, in: T. Lombrozo, J. Knobe, and S. Nichols (eds.) Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy Volume 1, Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Summary (Diversifying Syllabi): Leslie argues that generic language has an effect on social cognition. Specifically, generic language plays a role in the way small children develop concepts related to abilities, which facilitates the transmission and development of social prejudices.

Comment: This text can support classes on social cognition, the social nature of language, and essentialism (including social and psychological essentialism). It will also serve well as an introduction to generics in philosophy of language. In philosophy of gender and race classes it can offers a good illustration of how stereotypes are created.

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Spaulding, Shannon, , . Mind Misreading
2016, Philosophical Issues 26 (1): 422-440.
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by:

Abstract: Most people think of themselves as pretty good at understanding others’ beliefs, desires, emotions, and intentions. Accurate mindreading is an impressive cognitive feat, and for this reason the philosophical literature on mindreading has focused exclusively on explaining such successes. However, as it turns out, we regularly make mindreading mistakes. Understanding when and how mind misreading occurs is crucial for a complete account of mindreading. In this paper, I examine the conditions under which mind misreading occurs. I argue that these patterns of mind misreading shed light on the limits of mindreading, reveal new perspectives on how mindreading works, and have implications for social epistemology.

Comment: Unlike most papers in the mindreading debate, this paper focuses on the cases in which we fail to mindread. It relates these cases to self-awareness, and suggests how this could be explored to shed light on peer disagreement and epistemic injustice. This paper would fit in well in a social cognition syllabus.

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Spaulding, Shannon, , . Mirror Neurons and Social Cognition
2013, Mind and Language 28 (2):233-257
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by:

Abstract: Mirror neurons are widely regarded as an important key to social cognition. Despite such wide agreement, there is very little consensus on how or why they are important. The goal of this paper is to clearly explicate the exact role mirror neurons play in social cognition. I aim to answer two questions about the relationship between mirroring and social cognition: What kind of social understanding is involved with mirroring? How is mirroring related to that understanding? I argue that philosophical and empirical considerations lead us to accord a fairly minimal role for mirror neurons in social cognition.

Comment: What processes enable mindreading is a prominent debate in social cognition. A view that has been proposed in recent years is that mirror neurons play a role in mindreading (for example suggested by Goldman, 2006). However, exactly which conclusions mirror neuron research allows us to draw is controversial, and here Spaulding provides interesting objections to a prominent mirror neuron study. This paper is particularly suitable in a social cognition module.

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