Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 117–133 | Cite as

What guides pretence? Towards the interactive and the narrative approaches

  • Zuzanna RucińskaEmail author


This paper will explore one aspect of the relationship between pretence and narratives. I look at proposals about how scripts play guiding roles in our pretend play practices. I then examine the views that mental representations are needed to guide pretend play, reviewing two importantly different pictures of mental guiders: the Propositional Account and the Model Account. Both accounts are individualistic and internalistic; the former makes use of language-like representations, the latter makes use of models, maps and images. The paper will discuss some worries with the notion of mental guiders, and offer some positive suggestions about what else might be playing the guiding role in pretence. I propose that environmental affordances and socially scaffolded engagements provide the basis of pretence guiders (the Interactive Account), and suggest that engagement in narrative practices further frames and allows elaborations of acts of pretend play (the Narrative Account). I take first steps in developing a new embodied, enactive and intersubjective understanding of pretence, showing why it is a viable alternative to the mental representational accounts of pretence.


Pretence Play Narrative Enactivism Models Propositions Images 



This work was funded by the Marie-Curie Initial Training Network TESIS: Towards an Embodied Science of InterSubjectivity (FP7-PEOPLE-2010-ITN, 264828). I would like to thank Dan Hutto, Sam Coleman, Shaun Gallagher, Erik Myin, Thomas Fuchs, fellows from the TESIS project, colleagues from the University of Hertfordshire as well as Leon de Bruin and the anonymous reviewers for the support received in relation to the work presented in the paper.


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Copyright information

© © European Union 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of HumanitiesUniversity of HertfordshireHatfieldUnited Kingdom

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