Social and Enactive Perspectives on Pretending

Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies 10 (3) (2019)
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This paper presents pretending as an enacted and fundamentally social activity. First, it demonstrates why we should think of pretense as inherently social. Then, it shows how that fact affects our theory in terms of what is needed in order to pretend. Standardly, pretense is seen as requiring a mechanism that allows one to bypass the “obvious” re- sponse to the environment in order to opt for a symbolic response; that mechanism is im- aginative and representational. This paper shows that the Enactive Account of Pretense reconsiders the idea that one needs to respond to an absent environment when pretending, proposing instead that socially con- stituted perceptual affordances for play allow for non-obvious ways of responding to the present environment. The enactive account of pretense suggests that one need not posit special cognitive pretense mechanisms and mental scripts in order to account for pretend- ing, as available capacities for active perception and re-enactment of routines suffice. This paper concludes with suggestions for the kinds of cognitive skills that should be sought out to explain pretense.

Author Profiles

Zuzanna Rucinska
University of Antwerp
Zuzanna Rucinska
Leiden University


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