Chapter 7: Varieties of Intentionality: Michael Tomasello
The aim of this chapter is to analyze Michael Tomasello’s research into human infants, children, and great apes from the scientific, metascientific, and methodological points of view. I regard these three points of view as corresponding to the three dimensions of empirical sciences and at the same time making possible a deep analysis of such sciences. I shall utilize the first point of view to analyze Tomasello’s introduction and employment of the central concepts of empirical research and theory construction in the framework of developmental and comparative psychology. In it I shall distinguish two its phases, one from the eighties and nineties of the 20th century, and another one from the new millennium and lasting till now. In the second point of view I shall deal with Tomasello’s reflections on central concepts like first-order and second-order intentionality, shared intentionality, etc. Finally, from the third point of view I shall consider the methodological consequences of the choice and employment of concepts in the first and second dimensions, analyzing especially the methods employed by Tomasello in the practice of empirical research, in theory construction, and in explanation, that is, the relations of the explanandum to the explanans. Here I will draw partially on the works of Donald Davidson, Hans-Peter Krüger, and Jürgen Habermas.
7.1 The Scientific and Meta-Scientific Dimensions
As stated above, I shall provide a reconstruction of the practice and results of Tomasello’s scientific research into great apes, human infants, and children involving...
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