Theory of Mind
The ‘theory of mind’ is a term which basically denotes that human communal interaction, as contrasted to animals’ communal interaction, depends primarily upon one’s knowledge about other people’s consciousness (the recognition of a mind in other people similar to one’s own). There is more to it than just this, though: normal adult humans have a ‘theory of mind’ in that they understand that (a) other humans have wants, ideas and intentions that may differ from one’s own; (b) that desires and ideals are different from plans and actions; (c) that concepts may or may not correspond with what is actually occurring in the world. To put it simply, for an example, because one has a ‘theory of mind’ one understands that one can simultaneously (1) know that Santa Claus does not exist and (2) know that for a child the child knows that Santa Claus exists and (3) know that the child’s ‘knowing’ is actually believing.
Experiments have been done in order to determine when the ‘theory of mind’ develops in children (which research is important to take personally because all adults were children before they were adults); typically, by age four to four and a half, children can basically (a) distinguish between physical and mental objects (an orange is different from the thought of an orange), (b) reason about ideas, (c) ascribe false knowing (beliefs) in others, (d) engage in pretence (deceive and cheat).
Interestingly enough, it is this last point (deceit) which most of all signals the ‘theory of mind’ as having become established. Primatologists have determined that while monkeys do not have a ‘theory of mind’, chimpanzees may very well have a rudimentary ‘theory of mind’ in that they can deliberately deceive other chimpanzees (pretence) by hiding food so as to be able eat it all on their own. The term ‘theory of mind’ was coined by Mr. David Premack and Mr. Guy Woodruff (1978) in a paper investigating a chimpanzee’s ability to predict the behaviour of another by means of mental state attribution. In short, they sought to show that their chimp, Sarah, inferred the ‘intentions’ and ‘motivations’ of a man to predict his actions. Primatologists and other investigators of animal behaviour use a variety of substitutes for the term ‘theory of mind’ including ‘metarepresentation’, ‘metacognition’, ‘mind reading’, ‘mental state attribution’ and ‘pan- or pongo-morphism’.
To comprehend the importance of ‘theory of mind’, one only has to consider the task the ‘artificial intelligence’ theorists face in building a computerised model that would communicate like a human: they have to consider what kind of thoughts such a machine would have to be capable of to interact meaningfully with humans and how these kinds of thoughts could be modelled ... let alone inputting feelings.
The Third Alternative
(Peace On Earth In This Life Time As This Flesh And Blood Body)
Here is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, surpassing Spiritual Enlightenment and any other Altered State Of Consciousness, and challenging all philosophy, psychiatry, metaphysics (including quantum physics with its mystic cosmogony), anthropology, sociology ... and any religion along with its paranormal theology. Discarding all of the beliefs that have held humankind in thralldom for aeons, the way has now been discovered that cuts through the ‘Tried and True’ and enables anyone to be, for the first time, a fully free and autonomous individual living in utter peace and tranquillity, beholden to no-one.
Richard's Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.