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Old 12-09-2016, 08:18 AM   #1
Anders
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Default A species without shared intentionality

Individual intentionality in the way I am talking about it here is basically "I have a problem, how do I solve it?" If you add a theory of mind, you can get "You have a problem, how do you solve it?" Shared intentionality takes it one step further and adds "We have a problem, how do we work together to solve it?"

According to Michael Tomasello, chimpanzees don't have shared intentionality. You would never see two chimpanzees work together - like carrying a log to reach a bunch of bananas - they just can't think that way. According to Jonathan Haidt, one of my favorite psychologists, the important rubicon humans crossed on the way of becoming an ultra-social species (able to work together by the millions, without being related*) was inventing shared intentionality.

Tomasello did a series of experiments on toddlers and chimpanzees. One series of tasks were motoric tasks, and chimps and toddlers were about equally good at doing this. Chimps are really smart, so you can give them fairly complex tasks and they will solve them. The second series of tasks were tasks that required social interaction - picking one of two cups with the only clue being that the human is looking at it, or pointing at it. As someone who has had cats and dogs know that that's a large difference between them - if you point, a dog looks where you point, a cat looks at you**.

So how do I build a species without shared intentionality? The "mind-blind" disadvantages are "Clueless", "Low Empathy" and "Oblivious", but this is not quite something like that. Chimps can understand the reason behind another chimp's actions, it's just that they can't cooperate. Any ideas?

* we are the only species that can do that
** this may not be true of all dogs and all cats or even all chimps, so please don't point out the exceptions. An intriguing possibility is that cats are evolving shared intentionality, but there's a reason there are so many "trained dog" movies and so few "trained cat" movies
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Old 12-09-2016, 08:37 AM   #2
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Default Re: A species without shared intentionality

ok, so how does that interact with pack hunting? Do chimps not use pack tactics? is that a hole in their mindset?

I ask because I don't want to get the effects wrong.

My first thought for modeling this was some sort of divine curse. That may be a cop-out though. Another thought would be to base it on stubbornness, but instead of not accepting advice, you can't think of seeking help.
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Old 12-09-2016, 08:59 AM   #3
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Default Re: A species without shared intentionality

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ok, so how does that interact with pack hunting? Do chimps not use pack tactics? is that a hole in their mindset?
They do not. They hunt in groups, but if you look closer, they are not working together. They are reacting to the prey, the prey is reacting to other chimps so it looks as if the chimps are reacting to each other.
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Old 12-09-2016, 09:00 AM   #4
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Default Re: A species without shared intentionality

Does barter require shared intentionality?
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Old 12-09-2016, 09:11 AM   #5
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Default Re: A species without shared intentionality

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anders View Post
Individual intentionality in the way I am talking about it here is basically "I have a problem, how do I solve it?" If you add a theory of mind, you can get "You have a problem, how do you solve it?" Shared intentionality takes it one step further and adds "We have a problem, how do we work together to solve it?"

According to Michael Tomasello, chimpanzees don't have shared intentionality. You would never see two chimpanzees work together - like carrying a log to reach a bunch of bananas - they just can't think that way. According to Jonathan Haidt, one of my favorite psychologists, the important rubicon humans crossed on the way of becoming an ultra-social species (able to work together by the millions, without being related*) was inventing shared intentionality.

Tomasello did a series of experiments on toddlers and chimpanzees. One series of tasks were motoric tasks, and chimps and toddlers were about equally good at doing this. Chimps are really smart, so you can give them fairly complex tasks and they will solve them. The second series of tasks were tasks that required social interaction - picking one of two cups with the only clue being that the human is looking at it, or pointing at it. As someone who has had cats and dogs know that that's a large difference between them - if you point, a dog looks where you point, a cat looks at you**.

So how do I build a species without shared intentionality? The "mind-blind" disadvantages are "Clueless", "Low Empathy" and "Oblivious", but this is not quite something like that. Chimps can understand the reason behind another chimp's actions, it's just that they can't cooperate. Any ideas?

* we are the only species that can do that
** this may not be true of all dogs and all cats or even all chimps, so please don't point out the exceptions. An intriguing possibility is that cats are evolving shared intentionality, but there's a reason there are so many "trained dog" movies and so few "trained cat" movies
You've got smart pets. My dog looks at my hand, the cat looks at me (if it's hungry).

I can't think of a GURPS trait that feels like a good fit for this. Loner and Stubbornness feel like they are somewhere around it too. And Miserliness could be seen as an unwillingness to cooperate to mutual advantage in some ways as well. (Selfish, by name, sounds relevant maybe, but the RAW description is something different.)

What about Laziness aspected toward cooperative things?
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Old 12-09-2016, 09:28 AM   #6
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Default Re: A species without shared intentionality

A species like that could not have language. It would not mate though they might have sexual reproduction in the sense that some fish do. I am find it hard to believe chimps do not have more complex reproduction strategies though.

I have heard somewhere though that wolves don't hunt in packs the way men do, consciously using what may be called "tactics". Rather they all chase the same prey in the same direction and when they catch up to it all try to get a bite of it. I don't know if that is true.

In any case, this is a bit of a spectrum. You might be better giving them low cooperation level then none.
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Old 12-09-2016, 10:03 AM   #7
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Default Re: A species without shared intentionality

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Any ideas?
Start with Loner and modify it.
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Old 12-09-2016, 10:04 AM   #8
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Default Re: A species without shared intentionality

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Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
A species like that could not have language. It would not mate though they might have sexual reproduction in the sense that some fish do. I am find it hard to believe chimps do not have more complex reproduction strategies though.
Bees and ants mate, and they are a long way short of even "model of mind." "Insert Tab A into Slot B" can be defined in straightforward physical terms that can be programmed into a nervous system in a stereotyped way.
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Old 12-09-2016, 10:52 AM   #9
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Default Re: A species without shared intentionality

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Does barter require shared intentionality?
Interesting question. I'd say yes, it's about cooperating to find a deal both parties can be satisfied with. Language requires shared intentionality, communication is a cooperative venue (although some YouTube commenters apparently don't think so... :o) )
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Old 12-09-2016, 11:02 AM   #10
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Default Re: A species without shared intentionality

Your best bet is instead of removing shared intentionality, make the race one that really dislikes group endeavors, Loner.

They can work together at a remove.



Otherwise if you really want a race that shouldn't have language or communal work projects, create a disad. I'd use Low Empathy but with the penalties towards understanding and performing shared tasks. Probably penalties to Leadership tasks as well.

If the race has language, they could certainly understand "Go do this", but not grasp the intuitive angle of why they should. Though if they can't even barter, you'll have a hard time getting them to do it without using a strong carrot-stick method.
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