Intentional agency and the metarepresentation hypothesis

Mind and Language 13 (1):11-28 (1998)
This paper sketches a distinction between organisms that represent their world and those that do not. It uses this distinction to focus upon the idea that within the class of representational systems there has been a key cognitive innovation, the development of metarepresentational capacities. The idea is that a set of abilities is present in adult humans, developing humans and the great apes, and these abilities require metarepresentational capacities. So perhaps the capacity to metarepresent distinguishes intentional agents like us from less fancy agents. This paper sceptically discusses two key cases for the metarepresentational hypothesis: imitation and the ‘theory‐theory’ of social intelligence
Keywords Agency  Behavior  Intentionality  Language  Representation
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DOI 10.1111/1468-0017.00062
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