Do neonates display innate self-awareness? Why neonatal imitation fails to provide sufficient grounds for innate self-and other-awareness
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Psychology 19 (2):221-238 (2006)
Until the 1970s, models of early infancy tended to depict the young child as internally preoccupied and incapable of processing visual-tactile data from the external world. Meltzoff and Moore's groundbreaking studies of neonatal imitation disprove this characterization of early life: They suggest that the infant is cognizant of its external environment and is able to control its own body. Taking up these experiments, theorists argue that neonatal imitation provides an empirical justification for the existence of an innate ability to engage in social communication. Since later imitation is taken as a benchmark for self- and other-awareness, theorists claim that a proto- or primitive self must exist in the infant. This paper takes up the issue of whether or not neonatal imitation does provide us with a ground to argue against developmental accounts that consider self-awareness to be a later acquisition. I argue that the enthusiasm over neonatal imitation is premature. Psychological studies that claim to prove neonatal imitation do not provide sufficient grounds for dismissing alternate philosophical and psychological theories about the self as being a post-birth "event" rather than an intrinsic condition. Therefore, I argue that there is no compelling reason to suppose that we come to the world with a primitive sense of self- or other-awareness.
|Keywords||*Awareness *Imitation (Learning) *Neonatal Period *Self Perception *Social Perception|
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Joel Smith (2011). Can Transcendental Intersubjectivity Be Naturalised? Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 10 (1):91-111.
Nini Praetorius (2009). The Phenomenological Underpinning of the Notion of a Minimal Core Self: A Psychological Perspective. Consciousness and Cognition 18 (1):325-338.
Similar books and articles
Dietmar Todt (1998). Hierarchical Learning of Song in Birds: A Case of Vocal Imitation? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (5):702-703.
Susan L. Hurley (2006). Active Perception and Perceiving Action: The Shared Circuits Model. In Tamar Szab Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Perceptual Experience. Oxford University Press.
Andrew M. Colman (1998). Modelling Imitation with Sequential Games. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (5):686-687.
Harold D. Fishbein (1998). A Piagetian View of Imitation. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (5):689-690.
Ádám Miklósi (1998). In the Search for the Functional Homology of Human Imitation: Take Play Seriously! Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (5):699-700.
Thomas R. Zentall (2011). Social Learning Mechanisms: Implications for a Cognitive Theory of Imitation. Interaction Studies 12 (2):233-261.
John Schwenkler (2013). The Objects of Bodily Awareness. Philosophical Studies 162 (2):465-472.
Mikael Heimann (1998). When is Imitation Imitation and Who has the Right to Imitate? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (5):693-693.
Eamon P. Fulcher & Marianne Hammerl (2001). When All is Considered: Evaluative Learning Does Not Require Contingency Awareness. Consciousness and Cognition 10 (4):567-573.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads34 ( #51,905 of 1,102,744 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #36,605 of 1,102,744 )
How can I increase my downloads?