Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-dnltx Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-16T11:56:30.713Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Teleology first: Goals before knowledge and belief

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 November 2021

Tobias Schlicht
Institute of Philosophy II, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, GA3/29, 44780Bochum,,,
Johannes L. Brandl
Department of Philosophy KGW, University of Salzburg, A-5020Salzburg,,
Frank Esken
University of Europe for Applied Sciences, 58636Iserlohn,
Hans-Johann Glock
Philosophisches Seminar, Universität Zürich, CH-8044Zürich,,, Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language Evolution (ISLE), University of Zurich, CH-8044Zurich, Switzerland
Albert Newen
Institute of Philosophy II, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, GA3/29, 44780Bochum,,,
Josef Perner
Department of Psychology, Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, 5020Salzburg,,
Franziska Poprawe
Philosophisches Seminar, Universität Zürich, CH-8044Zürich,,,
Eva Schmidt
Department of Philosophy and Political Science, TU Dortmund, 44227 Dortmund,
Anna Strasser
Independent Researcher, 10245Berlin, Germanyannakatharinastrasser@gmail.com
Julia Wolf
Institute of Philosophy II, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, GA3/29, 44780Bochum,,,


Comparing knowledge with belief can go wrong in two dimensions: If the authors employ a wider notion of knowledge, then they do not compare like with like because they assume a narrow notion of belief. If they employ only a narrow notion of knowledge, then their claim is not supported by the evidence. Finally, we sketch a superior teleological view.

Open Peer Commentary
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Alvarez, M. (2010). Kinds of reasons. Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Behne, T., Liszkowski, U., Carpenter, M., & Tomasello, M. (2012). Twelve-month-olds’ comprehension and production of pointing. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 30, 359375.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Butterfill, S. A., & Apperly, I. (2013). How to construct a minimal theory of mind. Mind and Language, 28(5), 606637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gergely, G., & Csibra, G. (2003). Teleological reasoning in infancy: The naïve theory of rational action. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7, 287292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Glock, H. (2019). Agency, intelligence and reasons in animals. Philosophy (London, England), 94, 645671.Google Scholar
Glock, H., & Schmidt, E. (2019). Objectivism and causalism about reasons for action, with E. Schmidt. In Schumann, G. (Ed.), Explanation in action theory and historiography: Causal and teleological approaches. Routledge studies in contemporary philosophy (pp. 124145). Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kovács, Á. M., Tauzin, T., Téglás, E., Gergely, G., & Csibra, G. (2014). Pointing as epistemic request: 12-month-olds point to receive new information. Infancy, 19(6), 543557.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Krachun, C., Carpenter, M., Call, J., & Tomasello, M. (2009). A competitive nonverbal false belief task for children and apes. Developmental Science, 12(4), 521535.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Luo, Y., & Johnson, S. C. (2009). Recognizing the role of perception in action at 6 months. Developmental Science, 12(1), 142149.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Newen, A., & Starzak, T. (2020). How to ascribe beliefs to animals. Mind and Language, 119. Scholar
Perner, J., & Esken, F. (2015). Evolution of human cooperation in homo heidelbergensis: Teleology versus mentalism. In Barrouillet, P. (Ed.), Recent advances in cognitive-developmental theory. Special issue, developmental review (Vol. 38, pp. 6988). Elsevier.Google Scholar
Perner, J., & Roessler, J. (2010). Teleology and causal reasoning in children's theory of mind. In Aguilar, J. & Buckareff, A. (Eds.), Causing human action: New perspectives on the causal theory of action (pp. 199228). MIT Press.Google Scholar
Perner, J., & Roessler, J. (2012). From infant's to children's appreciation of belief. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(10), 519525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Roessler, J., & Perner, J. (2013). Teleology: Belief as perspective. In Baron-Cohen, S., Tager-Flusberg, H. & Lombardo, M. (Eds.), UOM-3: Understanding other minds (3rd ed., Chapter 3, pp. 3550). Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wimmer, H., & Perner, J. (1983). Beliefs about beliefs: Representation and constraining function of wrong beliefs in young children's understanding of deception. Cognition, 13(1), 103128. Scholar