Re: [xmca] Re: The social origins of pointing??

From: Phil Chappell <philchappell who-is-at>
Date: Sun Nov 04 2007 - 23:52:04 PST

For those interested, Tomasello and colleagues wrote a recent paper
titled "Understanding and Sharing Intentions: the origins of cultural
cognition" which elicited 31 responses, which were in turn addressed
by the original authors. The abstract and reference is below.



Tomasello, M., Carpenter, M., Call, J., Behne, T. & Moll, H. 2005,
Understanding and sharing intentions: The origins of cultural
cognition, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, vol. 28, no. 05, pp. 675-91.

We propose that the crucial difference between human cognition and
that of other species is the ability to participate with others in
collaborative activities with shared goals and intentions: shared
intentionality. Participation in such activities requires not only
especially powerful forms of intention reading and cultural learning,
but also a unique motivation to share psychological states with
others and unique forms of cognitive representation for doing so. The
result of participating in these activities is species-unique forms
of cultural cognition and evolution, enabling everything from the
creation and use of linguistic symbols to the construction of social
norms and individual beliefs to the establishment of social
institutions. In support of this proposal we argue and present
evidence that great apes (and some children with autism) understand
the basics of intentional action, but they still do not participate
in activities involving joint intentions and attention (shared
intentionality). Human children's skills of shared intentionality
develop gradually during the first 14 months of life as two
ontogenetic pathways intertwine: (1) the general ape line of
understanding others as animate, goal-directed, and intentional
agents; and (2) a species-unique motivation to share emotions,
experience, and activities with other persons. The developmental
outcome is children's ability to construct dialogic cognitive
representations, which enable them to participate in earnest in the
collectivity that is human cognition.

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Received on Sun Nov 4 23:56 PST 2007

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