Pretence: Role of Representations and Intersubjectivity?
Rucinska, Zuzanna Aleksandra
This thesis investigates the role of representations and intersubjectivity in explaining pretend play of young children. Its goal is to show that basic forms of pretending can be explained without recourse to mental representations. The thesis targets two aspects of pretence: imagining (underlying the ability to act as if), and guiding (underlying the ability to play in specific ways). It proposes an alternative account of pretence to cognitivist accounts that dominate in the literature. The alternative account is based on enactivism; it proposes to explain pretending through dynamic interactions of environmental affordances and animal effectivities in context. The thesis emphasises the role of social and environmental factors as well as cultural engagements in shaping the relevant context for pretence to occur. The thesis is an important contribution both to the literature on pretence as well as to philosophy of mind. While the topic of pretence is narrow, considering it through enactive lens involves considering some of the most debated issues, such as the applicability of mechanistic explanations to studying cognition.