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Re: [xmca] Polls are closed: Manfred Holodynsk's article is choice
I think that beliefs can exist separately from intentions, but that
intentions are necessary for belief-based action and that intentions may
not be realized, and that some actiosmay not be belief-based (for example,
I realise that I have introduced a third "concept" here, but is needed for
explication of the relationship.
On 20 March 2013 06:11, Larry Purss <email@example.com> wrote:
> Thanks for this clarification.
> Your mentioning that intentions as action and intentions as mental states
> must be kept distinct invites further inquiry.
> If mental states as a belief are culturally specific ways of understanding
> action then *mental states* as a concept must exist as artefacts.
> This notion of *mental states* therefore must have emerged in a particular
> historical epoch.
> By tracing the historical emergence of the belief in *mental
> states* showing how this notion has developed we possibly could become
> clearer on how our own ethnotheory assumes the existence of mental
> states as natural.
> Do you know of any authors or books which have traced the history of the
> development of *mental states* as a *folk* psychology?
> Martin, my understanding of the point you are making is that expression
> signs and gestures AS actions are central to development, but the move to
> *mental states* can be questioned as a particular cultural
> historical model of beliefs.
> On Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 7:19 PM, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > I need a little clarification too, Martin.
> > * What do you mean specifically by "when the infant acts
> > * The other thing that comes to mind is this. Manfred has been quite
> > specific in developing his approach to emotions within Activity
> > Theory, so we need to interrogate his paper in that context,
> > rather than in the context of internal states of the mind.
> > and can we remember to cc Manfred?
> > Andy
> > Martin Packer wrote:
> >> Hi Helen,
> >> Yes, of course. Rather than try to define them, at least at first, let
> >> try to illustrate them:
> >> Let's say you see me fumbling with the window handle. There are the
> >> following ways of understanding my action:
> >> 1. I'm opening the window - intention in action
> >> 2. I'm planning to get some fresh air - prior intention
> >> 3. I believe that it is colder outside than in, and I desire that this
> >> colder air enter the room - mental states of belief and desire
> >> You can see that these are not mutually exclusive; indeed each seems to
> >> be in some sense a deeper understanding than the previous one. This
> >> seems to suggest that in ontogenesis a child is likely to move from 1
> to 2
> >> to 3. But it's not the case that all three are always necessary, because
> >> there are actions that have an intention in action and no prior
> >> and others that have a prior intention but no beliefs and desires.
> >> An example of the first: I can get up and pace around the room without
> >> forming any prior intention to do so. An example of the second: I can
> >> to go to work by getting on the bus (prior intention and intention in
> >> action), but since I do this every day it seems odd to attribute to me
> >> addition a belief that the bus will take me to my workplace, or a
> desire to
> >> get there. First, I may have no such conscious belief or desire and yet
> >> still get successfully to my office. Second, if one says that the mental
> >> states are there but tacit, where does this stop? I must also believe
> >> buses carry people, and they do not float, and they do not dissolve....
> >> So it is important to distinguish these three ways of understanding an
> >> action, and recognize when each is called for. A child who can only
> grasp 1
> >> and 2 may still be able to function successful in a range of situations.
> >> In addition, these are not the only three ways that an action can be
> >> understood. In addition:
> >> 4. I may have a commitment to a social role - perhaps I am a technician
> >> whose job it is to ensure that the room does not overheat.
> >> 5. I may have a commitment to an identity - I may consider it more
> >> healthy or more ethical to work in a cold office (apparently Facebook
> >> founder Mark Zuckerberg holds such a view)
> >> Now we're into levels that I don't think Tomasello or Gergely have
> >> explored. Obviously infants are not going to understand actions in these
> >> terms, but I think it's very interesting to explore at what age and
> >> children become capable of such understanding.
> >> Martin
> >> On Mar 19, 2013, at 7:33 PM, Helen Harper <email@example.com>
> >> wrote:
> >>> Hello Martin,
> >>> can you please elaborate a little on what you understand as the
> >>> distinction between 'prior intentions and mental states of belief and
> >>> desire'. or if that's too much of an ask in a paragraph or two, point
> >>> towards something I should read?
> >>> Helen
> >>> On 20/03/2013, at 9:55 AM, Martin Packer <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> >>>> Larry,
> >>>> I agree with you that we have here converging lines of
> >>>> And I like your use of the term gesture, because presumably while for
> >>>> adult an infant's smile is understood as a 'sign' of pleasure, or of
> >>>> recognition, or of appreciation, the infant has no intention to sign.
> >>>> the infant (in-itself) the smile is a gesture, while for the adult,
> >>>> a community of signers and symbolizers, (for-others) the smile is a
> >>>> The problem I have with Gergely's work is that he seems to assume that
> >>>> any kind of intelligible act has to be backed by an intentional
> state, by
> >>>> beliefs and desires. He doesn't see the distinction that John Searle
> >>>> drawn between intention in action and prior intention. Tomasello sees
> >>>> distinction, but in my view he then fails to make the distinction
> >>>> prior intentions and mental states of belief and desire. And both of
> >>>> fail to see that mental state discourse is not culturally universal;
> >>>> are other conceptual frameworks within which people understand
> >>>> action.
> >>>> That's a lot packed into one paragraph; I bring it up because at times
> >>>> I think that Manfred Holodynski is also assuming that when the
> infant acts
> >>>> intelligently in interaction with adults, this means he (the infant)
> >>>> forming intentions that cause those actions, and that these
> intentions are
> >>>> mental states. In my view this confuses the picture and prevents us
> >>>> seeing the real developments.
> >>>> Martin
> >> ______________________________**____________
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> > --
> > ------------------------------**------------------------------**
> > ------------
> > *Andy Blunden*
> > Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> > Book: http://www.brill.nl/concepts
> > http://marxists.academia.edu/**AndyBlunden<
> > ______________________________**____________
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Carol A Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
Developmental psycholinguist: EMBED
Academic, Researcher, Writer and Editor
Honorary Research Fellow: Department of Linguistics, Unisa
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