Storytelling agents: why narrative rather than mental time travel is fundamental. Hardt, R. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences.
doi  abstract   bibtex   
I propose that we can explain the contribution of mental time travel to agency through understanding it as a specific instance of our more general capacity for narrative understanding. Narrative understanding involves the experience of a pre-reflective and embodied sense of self, which co-emerges with our emotional involvement with a sequence of events (Velleman 2003). Narrative understanding of a sequence of events also requires a 'recombinable system', that is, the ability to combine parts to make myriad sequences. Mental time travel shares these two characteristics: it involves an embodied sense of self and the ability to create novel scenarios. What is unique about mental time travel is that it is a story explicitly about our selves, and it involves metarepresentation. Agency is enabled by narrative understanding when we are able to put our current situation into a larger narrative context, whereby some possible actions, but not others, make sense. However, new features of agency are enabled when we understand stories that are explicitly about our selves: we gain the ability to plan and act on plans.
@article{Hardt,
abstract = {I propose that we can explain the contribution of mental time travel to agency through understanding it as a specific instance of our more general capacity for narrative understanding. Narrative understanding involves the experience of a pre-reflective and embodied sense of self, which co-emerges with our emotional involvement with a sequence of events (Velleman 2003). Narrative understanding of a sequence of events also requires a 'recombinable system', that is, the ability to combine parts to make myriad sequences. Mental time travel shares these two characteristics: it involves an embodied sense of self and the ability to create novel scenarios. What is unique about mental time travel is that it is a story explicitly about our selves, and it involves metarepresentation. Agency is enabled by narrative understanding when we are able to put our current situation into a larger narrative context, whereby some possible actions, but not others, make sense. However, new features of agency are enabled when we understand stories that are explicitly about our selves: we gain the ability to plan and act on plans.},
author = {Hardt, Rosa},
doi = {10.1007/s11097-017-9530-2},
file = {:Users/khm/Library/Application Support/Mendeley Desktop/Downloaded/Hardt - 2018 - Storytelling agents why narrative rather than mental time travel is fundamental.pdf:pdf},
issn = {15728676},
journal = {Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences},
keywords = {Agency,Emotion,Mental time travel,Metarepresentation,Narrative},
title = {{Storytelling agents: why narrative rather than mental time travel is fundamental}}
}
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