David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy (2012)
Abstract The view that mirror self-recognition (MSR) is a definitive demonstration of self-awareness is far from universally accepted, and those who do support the view need a more robust argument than the mere assumption that self-recognition implies a self-concept (e.g. Gallup in Socioecology and Psychology of Primates, Mouton, Hague, 1975 ; Gallup and Suarez in Psychological Perspectives on the Self, vol 3, Erlbaum, Hillsdale, 1986 ). In this paper I offer a new argument in favour of the view that MSR shows self-awareness by examining the nature of the mirror image itself. I argue, using the results of ‘symbol-mindedness’ experiments by Deloache (Trends Cogn Sci 8(2):66–70, 2004) , that where self-recognition exists, the mirror image must be functioning as a symbol from the perspective of the subject and the subject must therefore be ‘symbol-minded’ and hence concept possessing. Further to this, according to the Concept Possession Hypothesis of Self-Consciousness (Savanah in Conscious Cogn 2011 ), concept possession alone is sufficient to demonstrate the existence of self-awareness. Thus MSR as a demonstration of symbol-mindedness implies the existence of self-awareness. I begin by defending the ‘mark test’ protocol as a robust methodology for determining self-recognition. Then follows a critical examination of the extreme views both for and against the interpretation of MSR as an indication of self-awareness: although the non-mentalistic interpretation of MSR is unconvincing, the argument presented by Gallup is also inadequate. I then present the symbol-mindedness argument to fill in the gaps in the Gallup approach. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-17 DOI 10.1007/s10539-012-9318-2 Authors Stephane Savanah, ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD), Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia Journal Biology and Philosophy Online ISSN 1572-8404 Print ISSN 0169-3867
|Keywords||Mirror self-recognition self-consciousness self-awareness symbol|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Judy S. DeLoache (2004). Becoming Symbol-Minded. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8 (2):66-70.
Robert Epstein, R. P. Lanza & B. F. Skinner (1981). "Self-Awareness" in the Pigeon. Science 212 (4495):695-96.
Shaun Gallagher (1995). Body Schema and Intentionality. In Jose Luis Bermudez, Anthony J. Marcel & Naomi M. Eilan (eds.), The Body and the Self. Mit Press. 225--244.
G. G. Gallup (1970). Chimpanzees: Self-Recognition. Science 167:86-87.
Citations of this work BETA
Robert C. Jones (2013). Science, Sentience, and Animal Welfare. Biology and Philosophy 28 (1):1-30.
Robert W. Mitchell (2013). A Critique of Stephane Savanah's “Mirror Self-Recognition and Symbol-Mindedness”. Biology and Philosophy:1-8.
Similar books and articles
John L. Schwenkler (2008). Mental Vs. Embodied Models of Mirrored Self-Recognition: Some Preliminary Considerations. In B. Hardy-Valeé & N. Payette (eds.), Beyond the Brain: Embodied, Situated, and Distributed Cognition. Cambridge Scholars Press.
T. S. S. Schilhab (2004). What Mirror Self-Recognition in Nonhumans Can Tell Us About Aspects of Self. Biology and Philosophy 19 (1):111-126.
Richard A. Lynch (2008). The Alienating Mirror: Toward a Hegelian Critique of Lacan on Ego-Formation. [REVIEW] Human Studies 31 (2):209 - 221.
Damjan Bojadžiev (2004). Arithmetical and Specular Self-Reference. Acta Analytica 19 (33):55-63.
Christophe Menant, Evolution and Mirror Neurons. An Introduction to the Nature of Self-Consciousness (2005).
Alain Morin (2001). The Split-Brain Debate Revisited: On the Importance of Language and Self-Recognition for Right Hemispheric Consciousness. Journal of Mind and Behavior 22 (2):107-118.
Robert W. Mitchell (1997). A Comparison of the Self-Awareness and Kinesthetic-Visual Matching Theories of Self-Recognition: Autistic Children and Others. In James G. Snodgrass & R. Thompson (eds.), The Self Across Psychology: Self-Recognition, Self-Awareness, and the Self Concept. New York Academy of Sciences.
Farah Focquaert, Johan Braeckman & Steven M. Platek (2008). An Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience Perspective on Human Self-Awareness and Theory of Mind. Philosophical Psychology 21 (1):47 – 68.
Robert Van Gulick (2006). Mirror, Mirror -- Is That All? In Uriah Kriegel & Kenneth Williford (eds.), Self-Representational Approaches to Consciousness. MIT Press.
Kristina Musholt (2012). Concepts or Metacognition - What is the Issue? Commentary on Stephane Savanah’s “The Concept Possession Hypothesis of Self-Consciousness”. Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2):721-722.
Alain Morin (2002). Right Hemispheric Self-Awareness: A Critical Assessment. Consciousness and Cognition 11 (3):396-401.
Terence V. Sewards & Mark A. Sewards (2002). On the Neural Correlates of Object Recognition Awareness: Relationship to Computational Activities and Activities Mediating Perceptual Awareness. Consciousness and Cognition 11 (1):51-77.
Stuart Wilson (2002). Psi, Perception Without Awareness and False Recognition. Journal of Parapsychology 66 (3):271-289.
Added to index2012-03-30
Total downloads22 ( #81,337 of 1,099,707 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #32,138 of 1,099,707 )
How can I increase my downloads?