Describing Mental States: From Brain Science to a Science of Mind Reading

  • Shoji NagatakiEmail author
Part of the Interdisciplinary Evolution Research book series (IDER, volume 1)


The rise of cognitive science is, without doubt, promoting research on the mind since the middle of the twentieth century. In particular, by the advancement of observation instruments that makes an elaborate scan of brain states possible, it contributes to explicate how the mind works. There remains, however, the difficult problem of specifying correspondence between the physical and mental states. What matters most in this context is that we seem to have only precarious ways to know the latter. Recently, some researchers have been trying to revive the apparently long-discarded method of introspection. In the present chapter, we discuss the difficulties of this method and suggest instead an alternative way, known as mind reading which has been acquired in the process of human evolution, to describe others’ mental states. We consider what descriptions it can give of others’ mental states, to what extent its reliability can be endorsed experimentally, and discuss its viability in the science of mind.


Mental states Bodily behavior Quasi-third-person perspective Folk psychology 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International Liberal StudiesChukyo UniversityNagoyaJapan

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