Chapter

A Cognitive Theory of Pretence

Shaun Nichols and Stephen P. Stich

in Mindreading

Published in print September 2003 | ISBN: 9780198236108
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191600920 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198236107.003.0002

Series: Oxford Cognitive Science Series

A Cognitive Theory of Pretence

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One central theme of the book is that the capacity for mindreading implicates the capacity for pretense and imagination. In order to explain the processes underlying mindreading, it is vital to develop an account of the cognitive architecture subserving pretense and imagination. This chapter develops such an account and compares it to rival metarepresentational and simulation-theory accounts. On the account that is defended, pretense representations are contained in a separate mental workspace, a Possible World Box which is part of the basic architecture of the human mind. The representations in the Possible World Box can have the same content as beliefs, and are processed by the same inference mechanisms that operate over beliefs.

Keywords: metarepresentation; pretense; imaginary desires; imagination; possible world; simulation; Robert Gordon; Alan Leslie

Chapter.  20708 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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