Johannes Roessler
University of Warwick
There is converging evidence that over the course of the second year children become good at various fairly sophisticated forms of pro-social activities, such as helping, informing and comforting. Not only are toddlers able to do these things, they appear to do them routinely and almost reliably. A striking feature of these interventions, emphasized in the recent literature, is that they show precocious abilities in two different domains: they reflect complex ‘ theory of mind’ abilities as well as ‘altruistic motivation’. Our aim in this paper is to present a theoretical hypothesis that bears on both kinds of developments. The suggestion is that children’s ‘instrumental helping’ reflects their budding understanding of practical reasons. We can put the basic idea in the familiar terminology of common coding : toddlers conceive of the goals of others’ actions in the same format as the goals of their own actions: in terms of features of their situation that provide us with reasons to act
Keywords Normative reasons  Theory of mind  Intentional action  Teleology
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DOI 10.1007/s11097-015-9438-7
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Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Being Realistic About Reasons.T. M. Scanlon - 2014 - Oxford University Press.

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