SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Mental Files Theory of Mind: How children represent identity and belief
(Philosophy of Mind, )

A We use mental files theory to provide an integral theory of children's developing understanding of perspective. Mental files capture how we represent the things in the world we think about. Mental files theory can account for different perspectives on the same thing, what characterizes the mental domain. It paves the way for considering perspective - visual, conceptual, mental - as a unified phenomenon. When thinking about an object we individuate it as something, and therefore put a certain conceptual perspective on it. An object can be individuated in multiple ways which subsequently puts multiple conceptual perspectives on it (Clark, 1997; Perner & Leahy, 2016). For instance, Maxi's father and Anne's teacher can be the same person. Multiple conceptual perspectives give rise to identity statements like "Maxi's father is Anne's teacher.". Three year olds have problems making sense of such statements, and these problems relate to their problems understanding different mental perspectives of other people as assessed with the false belief (FB) task (Perner et al., 2011). According to mental files theory, the capacity to understand conceptual and mental perspectives appears around age 4 when children become able to merge or link files (Doherty & Perner 2020). In previous studies on identity understanding an object was introduced to children under one label and subsequently under a second. Only later did children learn that both labels refer to the same object with an explicit verbal identity statement (Perner et al., 2011). Here, we use a different method. We investigated whether using different labels for a visually continuously present object still leads to different ways of thinking about the same object. In addition, we examine whether spatial information about an object is treated in the same way as other predicative information, i.e., stored on the respective file, or in a different way.

Chair: Daniel Weger
Time: 11:20-11:50, 10 September 2021 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.005
Remark: (Online Talk)

Michael Huemer  
(University of Salzburg, )



Testability and Meaning deco