Chapter 3. Kinds of Agents: The Origins of Understanding Instrumental and Communicative Agency

  1. Usha Goswami
  1. György Gergely

Published Online: 15 JUL 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444325485.ch3

The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Childhood Cognitive Development, Second edition

The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Childhood Cognitive Development, Second edition

How to Cite

Gergely, G. (2010) Kinds of Agents: The Origins of Understanding Instrumental and Communicative Agency, in The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Childhood Cognitive Development, Second edition (ed U. Goswami), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444325485.ch3

Editor Information

  1. University of Cambridge, UK

Author Information

  1. Cognitive Development Center, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2010
  2. Published Print: 16 AUG 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405191166

Online ISBN: 9781444325485

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Keywords:

  • kinds of agents - origins of understanding, instrumental and communicative agency;
  • modularist “theory-of-mind” account;
  • criteria for adequate developmental theory of understanding intentional agency;
  • teleological and mentalistic representations of actions;
  • identifying intentional agency - self-propulsion versus rational choice of action;
  • principle-based inferential process - attributing goals to actions;
  • goal attribution versus preference attribution - role of perception of rational choice;
  • preverbal understanding of other minds - beginnings of a paradigm change;
  • representational and inferential properties of human-specific cognitive adaptations - in understanding teleological versus communicative agency

Summary

This chapter contains sections titled:

  • The Early Development of Understanding Intentional Agency and Representing Other Minds: A Brief Historical Introduction (1978–2005)

  • Criteria for an Adequate Developmental Theory of Understanding Intentional Agency

  • Preverbal Understanding of Other Minds: The Beginnings of a Paradigm Change? (2005–)

  • Teleology “Ungrounded” : Differences Between Human and Primate Understanding of Instrumental Agency

  • Conclusions

  • References