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Causing Human ActionsNew Perspectives on the Causal Theory of Action$
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Jesús H. Aguilar and Andrei A. Buckareff

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014564

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014564.001.0001

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Teleology and Causal Understanding in Children’s Theory of Mind

Teleology and Causal Understanding in Children’s Theory of Mind

Chapter:
(p.199) 14 Teleology and Causal Understanding in Children’s Theory of Mind
Source:
Causing Human Actions
Author(s):

Perner Josef

Roessler Johannes

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262014564.003.0103

This chapter discusses Donald Davidson’s claim that there is an “insuperable problem in giving a full description of the emergence of thought,” and how he expresses relief at not working “in the field of developmental psychology.” This claim is reiterated here and it is argued that Davidson was correct regarding the depth and difficulty of the problems involved in describing the emergence of thought. It should first be clarified, however, that this chapter is not concerned with Davidson’s completely general problem regarding the “conceptual difficulty” involved in the very idea of attributing propositional attitudes to immature thinkers. Although Davidson expressed pessimism at the possibility of making progress with these problems, this chapter endeavors to show that describing the emergence of thought may help to shed light on the nature of thought.

Keywords:   emergence of thought, Donald Davidson, developmental psychology, conceptual difficulty, propositional attitudes, immature thinkers, nature of thought

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