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Minimal Theory of Mind

What models of minds and actions

underpin mental state tracking in different animals?

Krupenye et al, 2017 (movie 1)

Anything unclear?




of mindreading

To make progress in understanding how minds might be intelligible to chimpanzees, we need to reject a dogma. The dogma is that there is one model of the mental and mindreading involves the use of that model. Or, more carefully (to accommodate Wellman et al), the dogma is that there is either just one model or else a family of models where one of the models, the best and most sophisticated model, contains all of the states that are contained in any of the models.
[Is this way of putting is clearer? : the mental states included in each model are a subset of the mental states included in the best, most sophisticated model. (The idea is that there is a model containing all the states in the union of the sets of states contained in each model.) ]
Lots of researchers’ views and arguments depend on this dogma. But I think you can see that the dogma is not something we should take for granted by drawing a parallel between mindreading and physical cognition.


Minimal theory of mind specifics a model of minds and actions,

one which could in principle explain chimps, jays or other animals track mental states.


Nonhuman mindreading processes are characterised by a minimal model of minds and actions.

My question ....

What models of minds and actions underpin mental state tracking in chimpanzees, scrub jays and other animals?

The standard question

Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?

I.e. we know that the chimpanzee has theory of mind abilities; but does exercising these abilities involve representing mental states?
Minimal theory of mind characterises a mindreading system. Does this system explain chimpanzee theory of mind abilities?

Could a system characterised by minimal theory of mind explain chimpanzee theory of mind abilities?

- yes

But does it?