Disagreeing with others about how to interpret a social interaction is a common occurrence. We often find ourselves offering divergent interpretations of others’ motives, intentions, beliefs, and emotions. Remarkably, philosophical accounts of how we understand others do not explain, or even attempt to explain such disagreements. I argue these disparities in social interpretation stem, in large part, from the effect of social categorization and our goals in social interactions, phenomena long studied by social psychologists. I argue we ought to expand our accounts of how we understand others in order to accommodate these data and explain how such profound disagreements arise amongst informed, rational, well-meaning individuals.
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