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No. 1463: Garfield Minus Theory of Mind

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Garfield Minus Theory of Mind

First | Previous | 2013-05-21 | Next | Latest

Strip by: Manyhills

Jon: I wonder if Garfield knows I have a pizza in the oven.
Garfield: I wonder if Jon knows I ate his pizza.
Jon: Rats.

The author writes:

Imagine DMM and I are hanging out together on the set of the top secret LEGO feature film he's been working on, Monty Jones and the Dunes of Time. DMM reaches the end of the climactic battle on top of a sand replica of Mount Rushmore, and packs away, placing the Monty figurine in his special box before heading off for lunch. Figuring I could make a quick buck flogging props to Planet Hollywood, I take Monty Jones out of the box and put him in my pocket. Just then, DMM comes rushing back in, having just been told he has to retake the bit where Monty knocks a goon off of Lincoln's head using a whip made of Teddy Roosevelt's moustache hair. Where does he look for Monty Jones?

If you said "in the box", then you have a theory of mind. Theory of mind is the recognition that other people have distinct minds and are able to hold different mental states - intents, beliefs, knowledge - from your own. In this case, even though you know that Monty Jones is currently in my pocket nestling between a handkerchief and a spoon I took from the canteen a week ago and haven't returned yet, you recognise that DMM doesn't know that, and still believes Monty to be in his box.

Up until the age of three or four, young children generally say that DMM will look in my pocket first. They have not yet developed a theory of mind and so cannot separate the knowledge and belief other people possess from their own.

Original strip: 1992-11-21.