Directors: Antonio M. Battro and Kurt W. Fischer
Program officer: María Lourdes Majdalani
Teaching’s wide scope
Teaching, one of mankind’s greatest achievements, may be a natural cognitive ability. I ask: why do we teach in the first place and what has to be in place for it to happen? Multidisciplinary answers to that question come from phylogeny, brain sciences, ontogeny, computer sciences, archeology, and anthropology. Nonhuman animals teach, but without intentionality and knowledge of others’ mental states. Only human teaching involves a theory of mind. The human brain that resulted from phylogeny is uniquely constructed to allow intentional teaching. In human ontogenesis, infants come prepared to receive teaching. Teachings’ many cognitive strands develop separately yet are intertwined from infancy through adulthood. Teaching may be a species-general universal achievement. All or virtually all societies have teaching.