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second-order intentionalityIntentionalität zweiter Ordnung (ger.)

  • Forming representations about the mental states of other organisms.

    W may […] hypothesize that the monkey gives an alarm call because it wants other to believe that there is either (a) something interesting nearby, (b) a predator nearby, or (c) a specific kind of predator nearby. All of these would be second order intentionality. To date, field observations suggest that explanations (a) and (b) can be eliminated, leaving explanation (c) as that most strongly supported by existing data.

    Seyfarth, R.M. (1984). Comment. In: Harré, R. & Reynolds, V. (eds.). The Meaning of Primate Signals, 40-42: 41.


    Consider two possible explanations of these behaviours [viz. broken-wing display]. The first hypothesis (H1) says that the birds want to protect their young, and believe that these actions will have that effect. The second hypothesis (H2) is that the plovers want to protect their young and believe that deceiving the predator is the best way to accomplish this; they perform the actions listed because they think that these actions will deceive the predator and therey protect their young. This second hypothesis attributes second-order intentionality (Dennett, 1987) to the birds—the hypothesis says that they form representations about the mental states of other organisms.

    Sober, E. (1998). Morgan’s canon. In: Cummins, D.D. & Allen, C. (eds.). The Evolution of Mind, 224-242: 238.