[MaFLa] invitation to a talk on `A puzzle about belief-ascription` by Pierre Jacob - 5 February, 5.30 PM

Krisztina Biber biberk at ceu.hu
Wed Jan 30 09:12:21 CET 2013

The CEU Department of Philosophy cordially invites you to a talk 
(as part of its Departmental Colloquium series)
Pierre Jacob (Institut Jean Nicod, Paris / CEU) 
`A puzzle about belief-ascription`
Tuesday, 5 February, 2013, 5.30 PM, Zrinyi 14, Room 412
(1) Much developmental evidence based on the so-called “standard or
elicited false belief task” shows that when asked to predict where an
agent with a false belief about an object’s location will look for it,
children who know the location of the object fail until they are well
into their fifth year. (2) However, several more recent experiments
based on different paradigms, including the violation-of-expectation
paradigm, anticipatory looking, helping and referential communication,
also show that preverbal human infants seem to reliably represent an
agent’s false beliefs. The puzzle is: how to reconcile (1) and (2)?
Until recently there were two main strategies for solving the puzzle.
One strategy is to take the data on preverbal human infants at face
value and show why it is so hard for 3-year-olds to pass the standard
false belief task. The other strategy is to offer low-level explanations
for the data on preverbal human infants and deny that they are able to
represent another’s false beliefs. A third strategy has recently
emerged, based on a “two-systems” approach to belief-ascription. On
behalf of the first strategy, I will argue that there is decisive
evidence against the second strategy and that it is hard for the third
strategy to get off the ground. 

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