Modularity, development and 'theory of mind'

Mind and Language 14 (1):131-153 (1999)
Abstract
Psychologists and philosophers have recently been exploring whether the mechanisms which underlie the acquisition of ‘theory of mind’ (ToM) are best charac- terized as cognitive modules or as developing theories. In this paper, we attempt to clarify what a modular account of ToM entails, and why it is an attractive type of explanation. Intuitions and arguments in this debate often turn on the role of develop- ment: traditional research on ToM focuses on various developmental sequences, whereas cognitive modules are thought to be static and ‘anti-developmental’. We suggest that this mistaken view relies on an overly limited notion of modularity, and we explore how ToM might be grounded in a cognitive module and yet still afford development. Modules must ‘come on-line’, and even fully developed modules may still develop internally, based on their constrained input. We make these points con- crete by focusing on a recent proposal to capture the development of ToM in a module via parameterization.
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DOI 10.1111/1468-0017.00106
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Core Mechanisms in ‘Theory of Mind’.Alan M. Leslie, Ori Friedman & Tim P. German - 2004 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8 (12):528-533.
Intuitions About Consciousness: Experimental Studies.Joshua Knobe & Jesse J. Prinz - 2008 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 7 (1):67-83.
Perceptual Causality and Animacy.Brian J. Scholl & Patrice D. Tremoulet - 2000 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 4 (8):299-309.

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