Controlling Core Knowledge: Conditions for the Ascription of Intentional States to Self and Others by Children

Synthese 159 (2):167 - 196 (2007)
Abstract
The ascription of intentional states to the self involves knowledge, or at least claims to knowledge. Armed with the working definition of knowledge as 'the ability to do things, or refrain from doing things, or believe, or want, or doubt things, for reasons that are facts' [Hyman, J. Philos. Quart. 49:432—451], I sketch a simple competence model of acting and believing from knowledge and when knowledge is defeated by un-experienced changes of state. The model takes the form of three concentric circles. The 'periphery' is analogous to Fodor's [(1983), The modularity of mind. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA] input systems. The 'core' contains copies of peripheral representations, and between these representations there is executive competition. At the 'nucleus', operations are performed on the core representations of, at least, negation and recursion. I argue that this provides a fruitful way in which to conceptualise why theory-of-mind tasks challenge pre-school children, how some degree of first-person authority is mental state attribution is possible, and how executive inhibition is achieved
Keywords Knowledge  Competence model  Periphery-core-Nucleus  Seeing-leads-to knowing  Object permanence  False belief
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References found in this work BETA
Tyler Burge (1996). Our Entitlement to Self-Knowledge. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 96:91-116.

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