What metarepresentation is for

In J. M. (ed.), The Foundations of Metacognition. Oxford University Press. pp. 279 (2012)
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Abstract

Humans seem special, because they are able to think about thinking (to make their mentality the object of their thoughts). In this paper I distinguish two very different ways in which thinking about thinking could be understood and which role these understandings play in the control of the mind. I argue on the one hand that language enables humans to express and attend to the content of their thoughts. This is an incredibly powerful tool which allows for the intentional manipulation of content. On the other hand, however, this form of thinking about thinking does not require the agent to understand mental states as states and because of that it does not allow for the intentional targeting of the states. Only a second and metarepresentation based form of thinking about thinking allows for this control. the rest of the paper then discusses the possible function of the intentional control of the mind in future directed self control.

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Tillmann Vierkant
University of Edinburgh

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