Re: [xmca] intersubjectivity, deception, perhaps also theory of mind

From: minati panda <pandam66 who-is-at>
Date: Tue May 01 2007 - 13:00:41 PDT

Dear Paul, Michael, Anna and other colleagues,

Thanks a lot for the help. I found most of your instant comments/remarks
very helpful. Last week I posted some of my problems/querries on xmca. It
did not reach anybody. I tgought it reached everybody except me. Today I
found that it did not reach anybody.

Anna, I got the book issued yesterday and went through it quickly. It will,
indeed, help me a lot. I am, obviously, using discourse analysis technique
for analysing my ethnographic data. Children, here, both co-opearte and
compete with each other through employing different strategies. I see them
engaging in different levels of intersubjectivity, one of them being very
complex one where they use verbal and non-verbal stategies to misguide the
opponent so that the opponent gets distracted from attending to the most
critical part of the board game, at least for the next move. The players
maintain intersubjectivity through verbal means (frequently uttering ok,
fine, go ahead) and adher to the rules, but at the same time, they engage in
intense mind reading, employ verbal and non verbal strategies to misguide or
distract the other player. Can we call this a strong form of
intersubjectivity? Is it not much more than simple collaboration? One can
explain using the construct 'theory of mind'. But, if I want to reflect on
intersubjectivity, how would one look at it! One obviously deals with 2/3
concepts at a time.

Most of the ethnographic studies show that children learn the folk games by
spontaneously collaborating with each other. If we look at it from another
angle, children cooperate with each other till they are ready to give a
tough fight to each other, or to others at least. Then, they enjoy the game
at a different level, where they compete, trick each other, employ deceptive
strategies----all of these they do while maintening certain level of
intersubjectvity.-----my problem here is dealing with copmlex things
together. Prof. Cole is raising valid methodological questions regarding
how to reflect confidently on the forms/levels of intersubjectivity. We are
still trying to grapple with the issue as I had not video recorded the

As it is an ethnographic data, we are facing copmlexities like these as
well. If we ignore one aspect, we seem to be imposing a structure to
simplify it. I agree with what Tomasello, Mike, all of you say about
collaboration being the most complex and fundamental a process for cultural
learning. But, most societies, organise cultural activities in a manner that
its members not only learn to collaborate but also learn ways to have
copmetitive adavantage over other fellow beings so that they survive
better. This game context has a peculiar mix of phases of cooperation and
competition. Our data shows that. Our problem is dealing with these 3
concepts together withing a single theoretical framework. I thought
'intersubjectivity' could be one that may include and explain all these. But
it is too complex! There are so many methodological issues involved here.
Michael, can you explain little more explicitly what you mean by "begin
other way round"?
Paul's response did not still make it clear to me though I got a sense of
what you are generally saying. Can you please explain me little more in the
context of our data?

Thanks for all the help. I welcome all your suggestions. I joined xmca
recently. I find it very helpful and stimulating.

Thanks once again.

Minati Panda
(currently visiting lchc, UCSD)

Associate Professor
Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies
School of Social Sciences
Jawaharlal Nehru University
New Delhi-110067

On 4/30/07, Paul Dillon <> wrote:
> Wolff-Michael Roth <> wrote:"
> "not the solipsist ego but with the WITH and
> its unfolding into intersubjectivity and subjectivity"
> This doesn't really make sense . . . mixing two concepts "ego" and
> "subject" and assuming they are somehow related as describing the same
> "object domain". Any familiarity with cultural anthropology or psychology
> should have made clear that the subject is a cultural construction, jeez,
> that's what I thought Vygotsky was all about . . . the ego something
> related to the body including all of its glorious,sensorium that culture
> shapes into a "subject" . . subject as cultural construct of course
> presumes the existence of subject (as Mead so clearly understood) as related
> to other subjects, but these don't exist at the same ontological level as
> "ego" -- in fact that is one of the great problems for any moral
> philosophy. That greedy little ego has little to do with the frameworks in
> which subjects (such as great heros) exist.
> Paul Dillon
> Yes, that seems right, Mike. However, all of this is possible BECAUSE
> there is intersubjectivity. We need a different method, begin the
> other way around, not with the solipsist ego but with the WITH and
> its unfolding into intersubjectivity and subjectivity. Regress is
> possible because there is intersubjectivity. :-) Just some musings
> from someone in the process of finishing a basement, doing drywalling
> and plumbing, the right kind of stuff to create the conditions for
> consciousness. . . pace Marx. Michael
> On 30-Apr-07, at 10:40 AM, Mike Cole wrote:
> Yes, that seems right, Michael. However, we are facing at least two
> problems in trying
> to analyse the data, and they may be insurmountable.
> To play a game you have to achieve some degree of intersubjectivity
> concerning the game and its rules. But this is a strategy game that
> involves, as the transcripts and
> fieldnotes indicate, deliberate deception. Now, how do you specify
> the situation.
> They have shared understanding of playing the game. But when one
> player seeks to
> decieve another (groans about a "great move" the other has made when
> in fact it is
> a bad move and the groan is meant to encourage if) what is the state
> of intersubjectivity?
> Person 1 may share Person 2's subjective interpretation while
> Person2, being decieved,
> does not understand Person 1's subjective interpretation. And so on
> infinitum.
> Never mind that we have no video, just audio plus observer notes. The
> problem itself
> appears intractable on the basis of the data we have.
> By all means, disabuse me of my scepticism!!!
> mike
> On 4/30/07, Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
> Isn't it that without intersubjectivity you couldn't even start a
> game let alone talk let alone make more intersubjectivity, let alone
> raising subjectivity and intersubjectivity as a problem???
> Michael
> On 25-Apr-07, at 8:46 AM, Stetsenko, Anna wrote:
> Mike, I recommend "Collaborative congnition" by Bearison & Dorval
> (2002) - they analyzed rules negotiation during game format to
> access intersubjectivity. Seems closely related to your interest and
> definitely not above the horizon.
> ________________________________
> From: on behalf of Mike Cole
> Sent: Tue 4/24/2007 10:32 PM
> To: Paul Dillon
> Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] intersubjectivity, deception, perhaps also theory
> of mind
> Hi Paul et al--
> Seems like Minati and I have taken on a task that may be well over our
> heads. And not only our heads. We asked Mike tomasello the same
> questions
> about the relationship
> between intersubjectivity, deception, and (implicitly) theory of mind we
> asked you. Everyone comes back with answers that point over the horizon
> (Martin-- by coincidence, my
> first experiment in grad school was also on prisoners' dilemma-- lets
> hear
> it for serendipity!!!). But Sartre, Searle, and other philosophers,
> and even
> GO masters, only leave me
> in confusion. Seems time to sound the retreat to more accessible
> issues. !!
> mike
> (ps. Minati with her deeper knowledge of Indian culture and
> philosophy may
> have other ideas!)
> On 4/24/07, Paul Dillon <> wrote:
> >
> > But just in case, check out the oldest game on earth, 5000+ years,
> and
> > still no computer can even beat an amateur master . .
> >
> >
> >
> > Deep blue shows the shallowness of chess/western mind, Kasparov
> > saying: it
> > was as though the machine read my mind! 1 million dollars for a
> > computer
> > program to beat an amateur go masters (SAY 2000 IN CHESS)
> >
> > By the way, how do you evaluate the gaze of a chess or go player
> > as s/he
> > looks at the opponent to judge whether s/he has grasped the
> > intention of the
> > play? That's really one for ethnographemics, yeah?
> >
> > Paul
> >
> >
> >
> > *Mike Cole * wrote:
> >
> > Dear XMCA-o-philes........
> >
> > Our visitor Minati has engaged me in working with her on kids
> > playing a
> > complicated game. What we have is a running
> > transcript of the narrative and observational notes (no videotape).
> > From
> > preliminary analysis, we want to talk about the players
> > establishing joint attention and intersubjectivity (they are both
> > attending
> > to the game, they know the rules, etc.) but they are both trying to
> > win
> > and
> > engage in clearly deceptive behaviors.
> >
> > We have been looking for a literature that combines
> intersubjectivity,
> > deception, and perhaps theory of mind. The Machiavellian
> > intelligence literature ought to have it, but we have not found it
> > (and we
> > are talking humans here, not chimps, and 8-16
> > year old humans, not infants).
> >
> > Can you provide us with any pointers of to look?
> > mike (& Minati)
> > _______________________________________________
> > xmca mailing list
> >
> >
> >
> >
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> >
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Received on Tue May 1 14:02 PDT 2007

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