Children’s Understanding of Identity - The Kind of Referent That Children Have in Mind When Understanding Identity Arguments
Humanities and Social Sciences
Volume 8, Issue 2, March 2020, Pages: 51-62
Received: Mar. 26, 2020; Accepted: May 12, 2020; Published: May 27, 2020
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Paul Weingartner, Department of Philosophy, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
Silvia Haring, University Library, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
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In order to conduct the reader to several important features of the old concept of identity we use a dialogue between two brothers of age 14 and 10 (ch.2). These boys point to important problems for children’s understanding identity. These are, for example, children’s ability to use two different names for one object (referent) or how to understand that the same referent is described by different properties (morning/evening star problem) or how can the referent of a name (name of their grandmother) be identical with the referent of a description (woman living 2nd floor, door 13) etc. Such identity situations occur in the test with children described in ch.6. After some preliminaries concerning the used language (ch.3) we offer a classification of identity-statements (ch.4) since several forms of these are used in the identity test (ch.6). Chapter 5 is a detailed study of different types of referents which are used when children understand identity: thought-referent, discourse-referent, perspective-referent are the most important ones. The last - perspective-referent - has many ramifications because of the different types of “perspective”. The last chapter describes an experimental test that has been done with 62 children of age between 3 and 4 years. The test included two identity stories accompanied by two preceding control stories. The result of the tests are as follows: 1. The correlation between age and the solution of the identity tasks is significant. 2. There is a significant difference between 3-years old and 4-years old children concerning both the identity tasks and that of the false belief task. 3. There is a significant correlation between the solution of the identity tasks and the false belief task. Acknowledgement: We would like to thank Josef Perner for several valuable remarks.
Identity, Reference, Classification of Identity-Statements, False-Belief-Task
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Paul Weingartner, Silvia Haring, Children’s Understanding of Identity - The Kind of Referent That Children Have in Mind When Understanding Identity Arguments, Humanities and Social Sciences. Vol. 8, No. 2, 2020, pp. 51-62. doi: 10.11648/j.hss.20200802.12
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