Scientific events  

Kosmos Dialog: Stephen Butterfill, Social cognition and reciprocity

22–24 April 2014

Venue: Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Luisenstraße 56, 10117 Berlin
Rooms 220, 144, 123

Organizers: Richard Moore, Anna Strasser


Social cognition and reciprocity
Mindreading is an essential aspect of Social Cognition. In many cases where an interpreter engages in mindreading, (a) the target of her mindreading is also a mindreader and (b) she is engaged in joint action with her target.  Yet much of the literature on mindreading ignores both facts, treating mindreading as if it were a one-way process of observing and interpreting others going about their daily business - where these others may not even be aware of the presence of their observer. 

In this short series of meetings and talks, we will explore the question of how the reciprocal nature of mindreading enables interpreters to make sense of one another, in ways that have not previously been foreseen. Further more we will ask in what ways, if any, engaging in joint action could facilitate mindreading and its emergence in evolution and child development.

Features of the dialog

Social Cognition is one of the main research topics of the Berlin School of Mind and Brain. The goals of this dialogue are to bring together several perspectives on the broad topic of Social Cognition, and to enable an interdisciplinary discussion and future cooperative projects.

(1)  The first event is a scheduled talk by Richard Moore (Postdoc) on “Is Gricean communication necessarily cooperative?“ with comments by Stephen Butterfill and a discussion in the philosophical colloquium of Michael Pauen.

(2) 'Meet the Speaker' is an established format devised to encourage young scientists from different disciplines to have an intensive communication with distinguished experts like Stephen Butterfill (exclusively open to students of the 'Mind and Brain' Master's program and all doctoral students of the Berlin School of Mind and Brain).

(3) The Journal Club 'Social Cognition' is an interdisciplinary meeting point open to all academic status groups (from master students to full professors). There will be intensive small-group discussions.

(4) The Mind-Brain Lecture will bring together a wide variety of members of the Mind and Brain community.

Future plans:
The organization of a workshop with an international cooperation in March 2015 will lead to high visibility and will enable further scientific exchange. This workshop will bring together the leading thinkers and researchers in the field of 'Social Cognition' and establish the School further as an institution for cutting-edge research.

Mind-Brain Lecture, 23 April 2014, 18:30

Stephen Butterfill: Joint Action without Mindreading

Joint action is a familiar feature of everyday life.  Paradigmatic joint actions include things like painting a house together, walking together and playing a piano duet.  On leading accounts of joint action, engaging in joint action presupposes mindreading abilities.  But are there forms of joint action engaging in which would not require mindreading?  In this talk I aim to identify interagential structures of motor representation that play a role in coordinating some joint actions, and to argue that this role is parallel to one played by shared intention.  The parallel indicates that we can give a theoretically coherent and empirically motivated account of a form of joint action that does not require mindreading.  This  removes an obstacle to holding that abilities to engage in joint action partly explain the emergence, in evolution or development, of mindreading.

This page last updated on: 16 December 2015

The speaker


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Dr. Anna Strasser
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How to get there

Map with location of the Berlin School of Mind and Brain at Humboldt Graduate School, Luisenstraße 56, Haus 1.

Public transport: The closest stations are ‘Hauptbahnhof’ (national & local trains, TXL bus from airport Tegel, S-Bahn), ‘Oranienburger Tor’ (U-Bahn), and ‘Friedrichstraße’ (S-Bahn and U-Bahn). Bus No 147 stops at ‘Charité - Campus Mitte’ near our building.

To find out about public transport connections in Berlin, see BVG website.