[I]t occurred to me that I could improve my parents' opinion of me by using my new [telepathic] faculty to help out with my schoolwork—in short, I began to cheat in class. That is to say, I tuned in to the inner voices of my schoolteachers and also of my cleverer classmates, and picked information out of their minds. I found that very few of my masters could set a test without rehearsing the ideal answers in their minds—and I knew, too, that on those rare occasions when the teacher was preoccupied by other things... the solutions could always be found in the precocious, prodigious mind of our class genius, Cyrus-the-great. My marks began to improve dramatically—but not overly so, because I took care to make my versions different from their stolen originals; even when I telepathically cribbed an entire English essay from Cyrus, I added a number of mediocre touches of my own. My purpose was to avoid suspicion; I did not, but I escaped discovery. Under Emil Zagallo's furious, interrogating eyes I remained innocently seraphic; beneath the bemused, head-shaking perplexity of Mr. Tandon the English master I worked my treachery in silence—knowing that they would not believe the truth even if, by chance or folly, I spilled the beans. (Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children, 169).Nichols and Stich on mindreading as an ordinary human capacity of mental state attribution, prediction, and explanation:
[M]indreading['s] association with telepathy infuses the term with an aura of mystique, and we think the capacity to understand minds deserves to be regarded with a certain amount of awe. Indeed, our mindreading capacities are in many ways much more impressive and powerful than the telepathic capacities proclaimed by mystics. We engage in mindreading for mundane chores, like trying to figure out what the baby wants, what your peers believe about your work, and what your spouse will do if you arrive home late. Mindreading is also implicated in loftier endeavours like trying to glean Descartes's reasons for thinking that many ideas are innate. So pervasive is the role of mindreading in our lives that Jerry Fodor has remarked that if the ordinary person's understanding of the mind should turn out to be seriously mistaken, it would be 'the greatest intellectual catastrophe in the history of our species' (Nichols & Stich, Mindreading, 2).