Topic description / abstract:
Shared intentionality is thought to be a key driver of human cooperation. In this paper, we situate the evolution of shared intentionality within the broader context of the extended evolutionary synthesis by claiming that niche construction played a key role in shared intentionality’s evolution. We argue for this claim by showing that all the main evolutionary explanations of shared intentionality involve special cases of selective or developmental niche construction. One important implication of this view is that shared intentionality might not have initially relied on phylogenetically novel cognitive machinery, as suggested by previous hypotheses, but on environmental modifications that biased the development of existing traits.
Ivan Gonzalez-Cabrera recently completed his Ph.D. in Philosophy at the Australian National University supervised by Professor Kim Sterelny. He has been Research Student in Professor Yoshiyuki Hirono’s lab at the University of Tokyo and Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology under Professor Michael Tomasello’s supervision. He was Writing-Up Fellow at the KLI in 2016. His research focuses on the intersection between biology and psychology, and their philosophical implications. Most of his previous work has been concerned with issues about normative cognition, with a secondary interest in causal and physical cognition. As a KLI Postdoctoral Fellow, he is currently working on normative disagreement and its role in the emergence of large-scale cooperation and cultural complexity in humans.