Joint Attention and Understanding the Mind

In N. Elian, Christoph Hoerl, Teresa McCormack & Johannes Roessler (eds.), Oxford University PressJoint Attention: Communication and Other Minds. Oxford University Press. pp. 34--44 (2005)
Abstract
It is plausible to think, as many developmental psychologists do, that joint attention is important in the development of getting a full grasp on psychological notions. This chapter argues that this role of joint attention is best understood in the context of the simulation theory about the nature of psychological understanding rather than in the context of the theory. Episodes of joint attention can then be seen not as good occasions for learning a theory of mind but rather as good occasions for developing skills of expressing and sharing thoughts. This approach suggests seeing language acquisition as learning how to focus and fine-tune joint attention already present in the normal basic relation of carer and infant. Philosophers in thinking about other minds have concentrated too much on the contrast of first and third person, I vs he/she, and forgotten the centrality of the contrast of first and second person, I vs you, and the related centrality of we.
Keywords Joint Attention  Mind  Understanding
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