Post-Kantian Approaches to the Problem of Other Minds: The Second Person and Human Science, beyond Simulation and Theory


ACLS Fellowship Program




What justifies beliefs about another’s mind? Currently theory theorists, who claim that I theorize about the other in the third person, debate simulation theorists, who claim that I consider in the first person what I would do in the other’s position. A neglected alternative, pioneered by Fichte and Hegel, considers second-person cognition of the other to be necessary for rational agency and foundational for ethics. Exploring the possibility of other minds skepticism, I critically reconstruct this alternative. While current debates focus on the relationship between folk psychology and psychology as a natural science, I explore implications of and for human sciences, e.g., philology and socio-economic history, which post-Kantians helped found with their second-person approach.