Philosophical Seminar: Prof. Glenda Satne 'Shared Intentionality and the cooperative evolutionary Hypothesis (CEH)'

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 - 12:00 to 13:00
Hall D, Arts Building


One important application of theories of collective intentionality is contributing to explain the evolution of social understanding - and even of human thinking (Tomasello 2014).  A promising idea that underlies Tomasello’s and others’ approach to human evolution is what I will label: The cooperative evolutionary Hypothesis (CEH), namely, the idea that human’s capacity for social cooperation is at the heart of the capacity of the species to understand other’s mental states and behavior leading to an explanation of how humans came to share thoughts and language. However, Tomasello’s special attempt to pursue CEH faces several problems. In this presentation I will focus on one of these problems: Tomasello et al. understanding of  help and cooperation (Tomasello 2014, Warneken & Tomasello, 2006, 2007).  I will argue that Tomasello’s analysis of cooperation and spontaneous help is problematic. Problems result from assuming that the right account of joint action and simple forms of shared intentionality is given by Bratman’s theory of shared intentions.  I will end by proposing an alternative framework for understanding shared intentionality that has the resources for overcoming the difficulties and  can help  substantiate CEH, a framework that can be productively  put to empirical testing.

Chair: Dr Susan Gottlöber


Glenda Satne is Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy, Alberto Hurtado University in Chile and VC Fellow at the School of Law, Humanities and Arts, University of Wollongong, Australia. She was previously Marie Curie Experienced Researcher at the CFS in Copenhagen. She has recently edited a special issue in the Journal of Consciousness Studies on Interaction and the Second Person and one in Phenomenology and The cognitive Sciences on Normativity. She has published extensively on the Second person, Wittgenstein, Normativity and Collective Intentionality.