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Developing Mental Abilities by Representing Intentionality

Radu J. Bogdan
Synthese
Vol. 129, No. 2, Representations (Nov., 2001), pp. 233-258
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20117179
Page Count: 26
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Developing Mental Abilities by Representing Intentionality
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Abstract

Communication by shared meaning, the mastery of word semantics, metarepresentation and metamentation are mental abilities, uniquely human, that share a sense of intentionality or reference. The latter is developed by a naive psychology or interpretation -- a competence dedicated to representing intentional relations between conspecifics and the world. The idea that interpretation builds new mental abilities around a sense of reference is based on three lines of analysis -- conceptual, psychological and evolutionary. The conceptual analysis reveals that a sense of reference is at the heart of the abilities in question. Psychological data track tight developmental correlations between interpretation and the abilities it designs. Finally, an evolutionary hypothesis looks at why interpretation designed those new abilities around a sense of reference.

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