Mind & Society

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 31-58

First online:

How pretence can really be metarepresentational

  • Cristina MeiniAffiliated withFacoltà di Lettere e Filosofia, Università del Piemonte Orientale Email author 
  • , Alberto VoltoliniAffiliated withFacoltà di Lettere e Filosofia, Università di Torino

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Our lives are commonly involved with fictionality, an activity that adults share with children. After providing a brief reconstruction of the most important cognitive theories on pretence, we will argue that pretence has to do with metarepresentations, albeit in a rather weakened sense. In our view, pretending entails being aware that a certain representation does not fit in the very same representational model as another representation. This is a minimal metarepresentationalism, for normally metarepresentationalism on pretense claims that pretending is or entails representing a representation qua representation, i.e. as conceptualised as a representation, in its very content. In the final section we will try to draw some consequences of our view as to the debate in cognitive science on mindreading. Given this minimal metarepresentationalism, the two main positions on mindreading, the ‘theory theory’ and the ‘simulation theory’, turn out to be closer than one would have originally supposed.


Pretence Metarepresentation Simulation Simulation theory Theory theory