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Foundations of Metacognition$
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Michael J. Beran, Johannes Brandl, Josef Perner, and Joëlle Proust

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199646739

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646739.001.0001

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What metarepresentation is for

What metarepresentation is for

(p.279) Chapter 17 What metarepresentation is for
Foundations of Metacognition

Tillmann Vierkant

Oxford University Press

Humans seem special, because they are able to think about thinking (to make their mentality the object of their thoughts). This chapter distinguishes two very different ways in which thinking about thinking could be understood and which role these understandings play in the control of the mind. the chapter argues, 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, metarepresentation-based form of thinking about thinking, allows for this control. The rest of the chapter then discusses the possible function of the intentional control of the mind in future directed self-control.

Keywords:   metacognition, metarepresentation, language, self-control, mindreading, mindshaping

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