How apes get into and out of joint actions

Interaction Studies 21 (3):353-386 (2020)
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Abstract

Compared to other animals, humans appear to have a special motivation to share experiences and mental states with others (Clark, 2006; Grice, 1975), which enables them to enter a condition of ‘we’ or shared intentionality (Tomasello & Carpenter, 2005). Shared intentionality has been suggested to be an evolutionary response to unique problems faced in complex joint action coordination (Levinson, 2006; Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll, 2005) and to be unique to humans (Tomasello, 2014). The theoretical and empirical bases for this claim, however, present several issues and inconsistencies. Here, we suggest that shared intentionality can be approached as an interactional achievement, and that by studying how our closest relatives, the great apes, coordinate joint action with conspecifics, we might demonstrate some correlate abilities of shared intentionality, such as the appreciation of joint commitment. We provide seven examples from bonobo joint activities to illustrate our framework.

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References found in this work

Shared intention.Michael E. Bratman - 1993 - Ethics 104 (1):97-113.
Walking Together: A Paradigmatic Social Phenomenon.Margaret Gilbert - 1990 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 15 (1):1-14.
Toward a mechanistic psychology of dialogue.Martin J. Pickering & Simon Garrod - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (2):169-190.
Forms of Talk.Erving Goffman - 1981 - Human Studies 5 (2):147-157.

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