Intentionality and Theories of Intentionality in Development

Bloom, Lois

This book is the result of a conference at the University of Toronto on the part played by intention in developing theories of mind. The chapters in the book are informed by three concepts of intentionality: intention in the narrow sense of the goal-directedness of individual actions; intentionality in the larger sense of the directedness and 'aboutness' of contents of mind−what the immediate, moment-to-moment representations in consciousness are 'about' or what an experience is an experience ‘of’; and theory of mind: the intuitive, psychological theories we have about intentionality and intentional action that influence our everyday actions and interactions. This last sense of intentionality, theory of mind, is the one best represented in the book and is, by and large, a theory of the other mind: how children learn to attribute or 'ascribe' intentional states to other persons; how a child comes to understand the intentionality of other persons and the sources of others' intentional actions; or how other persons can influence the child's thoughts and, hence, the child's actions. In contrast, the perspective taken in this review takes infant intentionality in the larger sense as the starting point in proposing that what a child has in mind, the child's intentional state, determines the child's actions and interactions in the world and, hence, the child's development, shifting the emphasis thereby to the authority of the child in the developmental process.


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Human Development

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Human Development
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July 18, 2017