Shared Intentionality and the Cooperative Evolutionary HypothesisGlenda Satne
E561, Menzies Buiding
One important application of theories of collective intentionality is in contributing to explain the evolution of social understanding - and even of human thinking (Tomasello 2014). A promising idea behind this approach is The Cooperative Evolutionary Hypothesis (CEH), namely, the idea that humans’ capacity for social cooperation is at the heart of the capacity of the species to understand others’ mental states and behaviour, leading to an explanation of how humans came to share thoughts and language. However, some of the most popular attempts to pursue CEH face important problems. In this talk, I take Tomasello’s account (2016,2014, 2008) as a leading example of a central theoretical strand in the field that faces such insurmountable problems. I argue that Tomasello et al’s analysis of cooperation and spontaneous help is problematic. Problems result from assuming that the right account of joint action and simple forms of shared intentionality is given by Bratman’s theory of shared intentions and its underlying assumptions. I end by proposing an alternative framework for understanding shared intentionality that can help substantiate CEH.
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