Mind as an Anticipatory Device: For a Theory of Expectations

Cristiano Castelfranchi

This work is about the central role of “expectations” in mental life and in purposive action. We will present a cognitive anatomy of expectations, their reduction in terms of more elementary ingredients: beliefs and goals. Moreover, those ingredients will be considered in their quantitative dimension: the value of the Goal, the strength of the Beliefs. We will base several predictions on this analytical distinction, and sketch a theory of hope, fear, frustration, disappointment, and relief, strictly derived from the analysis of expectations. Eventually, we will discuss how we can capture the global subjective character of such mental states that we have decomposed; how to account for their gestaltic nature.

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