Developing mental abilities by representing intentionality

Synthese 129 (2):233-258 (2001)
Abstract
  Communication by shared meaning, themastery of word semantics,metarepresentation and metamentation aremental abilities, uniquely human, that share a sense ofintentionality or reference. The latteris developed by a naive psychology or interpretation – acompetence dedicated to representingintentional relations between conspecifics and the world. Theidea that interpretation builds new mentalabilities around a sense of reference is based on three linesof analysis – conceptual, psychological andevolutionary. The conceptual analysis reveals that a senseof reference is at the heart of the abilitiesin question. Psychological data track tight developmentalcorrelations between interpretation and theabilities it designs. Finally, an evolutionary hypothesislooks at why interpretation designed thosenew abilities around a sense of reference
Keywords Ability  Intentionality  Metaphysics  Mind  Reference  Representation
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