David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 175 (2):219-239 (2010)
The recent discovery of so-called “mirror-neurons” in monkeys and a corresponding mirroring “system” in humans has provoked wide endorsement of the claim that humans understand a variety of observed actions, somatic sensations, and emotions via a kind of direct representation of those actions, sensations, and emotions. Philosophical efforts to assess the import of such “mirrored understanding” have typically focused on how that understanding might be brought to bear on theories of mindreading (how we represent other creatures as having mental states), and usually in cases of action. By contrast, this paper assesses mirrored understanding in cases of emotion and its import for theories of <span class='Hi'>empathy</span> and especially <span class='Hi'>empathy</span> in ethical contexts. In particular, this paper argues that the mirrored understanding claim is ambiguous and ultimately misleading when applied to emotion, partly because mirroring proponents fail to appreciate the way in which <span class='Hi'>empathy</span> might serve a distinct normative function in our judgments of what other people feel. The paper thus concludes with a call to revise the mirrored understanding claim, whether in neuroscience, psychology, or philosophy.
|Keywords||Empathy Mirroring Mirror neurons Mindreading|
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References found in this work BETA
Colin Allen (2010). Mirror, Mirror in the Brain, What's the Monkey Stand to Gain? Noûs 44 (2):372 - 391.
Vittorio Gallese & Alvin Goldman (1998). Mirror Neurons and the Simulation Theory of Mind-Reading. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 2 (12):493-501.
Vittorio Gallese, Christian Keysers & Giacomo Rizzolatti (2004). A Unifying View of the Basis of Social Cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8 (9):396-403.
A. Goldman (2006/2008). Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Amy Coplan (2011). Will the Real Empathy Please Stand Up? A Case for a Narrow Conceptualization. Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (s1):40-65.
Antonella Corradini & Alessandro Antonietti (2013). Mirror Neurons and Their Function in Cognitively Understood Empathy. Consciousness and Cognition 22 (3):1152-1161.
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