The essays in this volume make it abundantly clear that there is no shortage of disagreement about the plausibility of the simulation theory. As we see it, there are at least three factors contributing to this disagreement. In some instances the issues in dispute are broadly empirical. Different people have different views on which theory is favored by experiments reported in the literature, and different hunches about how future experiments are likely to turn out. In 3.1 and 3.3 we will (...) consider two cases that fall under this heading. With a bit of luck these disputes will be resolved as more experiments are done and more data become available. Faulty arguments are a second source of disagreement. In 3.2 and 3.4 we will set out two dubious arguments advanced by our critics and try to explain exactly why we think they are mistaken. The third source of disagreement is terminological. Terms like "theory-theory," "simulation theory" and a number of others are often not clearly defined, and they are used in different ways by different authors. (Worse yet, we suspect they are sometimes used in different ways by a single author on different occasions). Thus it is sometimes the case that what appears to be a substantive disagreement turns out to be simply a verbal dispute. Moreover, since the labels "theory-theory" and "simulation theory" are each used to characterize a broad range of theories, it may well turn out that some of the theories falling under both headings are correct. In Sections 1 and 2, we will set out a variety of different views for which the labels "theory-theory" and "simulation theory" might be used. As we proceed we'll point out a number of places where disagreements diminish when distinctions among different versions of the theory-theory and the simulation theory are kept clearly in mind. (shrink)
Par un procédé d'objections/réponses, nous passons d'abord en revue certains des arguments en faveur ou en défaveur du caractère empirique de la simulation informatique. A l'issue de ce chemin clarificateur, nous proposons des arguments en faveur du caractère concret des objets simulés en science, ce qui légitime le fait que l'on parle à leur sujet d'une expérience, plus spécifiquement d'une expérience concrète du second genre.
The SIMS model claims that it is by means of an embodied simulation that we determine the meaning of an observed smile. This suggests that crucial interpretative work is done in the mapping that takes us from a perceived smile to the activation of one's own facial musculature. How is this mapping achieved? Might it depend upon a prior interpretation arrived at on the basis of perceptual and contextual information?
This paper examines the causal basis of our ability to attribute emotions to music, developing and synthesizing the existing arousal, resemblance and persona theories of musical expressivity to do so. The principal claim is that music hijacks the simulation mechanism of the brain, a mechanism which has evolved to detect one's own and other people's emotions.
This paper is concerned with the problem of selfidentification in the domain of action. We claim that this problem can arise not just for the self as object, but also for the self as subject in the ascription of agency. We discuss and evaluate some proposals concerning the mechanisms involved in selfidentification and in agencyascription, and their possible impairments in pathological cases. We argue in favor of a simulation hypothesis that claims that actions, whether overt or covert, are centrally simulated (...) by the neural network, and that this simulation provides the basis for action recognition and attribution. (shrink)
This paper contributes to an ongoing debate regarding the cognitive processes involved when one person predicts a target person's behavior and/or attributes a mental state to that target person. According to simulation theory, a person typically performs these tasks by employing some part of her brain as a simulation of what is going on in a corresponding part of the brain of the target person. I propose a general intuitive analysis of what 'simulation' means. Simulation is a particular way of (...) using one process to acquire knowledge about another process. What distinguishes simulation from other ways of acquiring knowledge is that simulation requires, for its non-accidental success, that the simulating process reflect significant aspects of the simulated process. This conceptual work is of independent philosophical interest, but it also enables me to argue for two conclusions that are of great significance to the debate about mental simulation theory. First, I argue that, in order to stake a non-trivial claim, simulation theory must hold that mental simulation involves what I call concretely similar processes. Second, I argue for the surprising conclusion that a significant class of cases that simulation theorists have claimed as intuitive cases of simulation do not actually involve simulation, after all. I close by sketching an alternative account that might handle these problematic cases. (shrink)
In a series of recent papers, Jane Heal (1994, 1995a, 1995b, 1996a, 1996b) has developed her own quite distinctive version of simulation theory and offered a detailed critique of the arguments against simulation theory that we and our collaborators presented in earlier papers. Heal's theory is clearly set out and carefully defended, and her critique of our arguments is constructive and well informed. Unlike a fair amount of what has been written in this area in recent years, her work is (...) refreshingly free of obscurity; it generates more light than heat. While we have many disagreements with Heal, we also find much that we can agree with and learn from. In this paper we hope to advance the discussion by saying where we agree and how we think we can build on that agreement. We'll also explain where we disagree and why. (shrink)
It is sometimes said that simulation can serve as epistemic substitute for experimentation. Such a claim might be suggested by the fast-spreading use of computer simulation to investigate phenomena not accessible to experimentation (in astrophysics, ecology, economics, climatology, etc.). But what does that mean? The paper starts with a clarification of the terms of the issue and then focuses on two powerful arguments for the view that simulation and experimentation are ‘epistemically on a par’. One is based on the claim (...) that, in experimentation, no less than in simulation, it is not the system under study that is manipulated but a system that ‘stands-in’ for it. The other one highlights the pervasive use of models in experimentation. It will be argued that these arguments, as compelling as they might seem, are each based on a mistaken interpretation of experimentation and that, far from simulation and experimentation being epistemically on a par, they do not have the same epistemic function, do not produce the same kind of epistemic results. (shrink)
Mirror neurons and systems are often appealed to as mechanisms enabling mindreading, i.e., understanding other people’s mental states. Such neural mirroring processes are often treated as instances of mental simulation rather than folk psychological theorizing. I will call into question this assumed connection between mirroring and simulation, arguing that mirroring does not necessarily constitute mental simulation as specified by the simulation theory of mindreading. I begin by more precisely characterizing “mirroring” (Sect. 2) and “simulation” (Sect. 3). Mirroring results in a (...) neural process in an observer that resembles a neural process of the same type in the observed agent. Although simulation is often characterized in terms of resemblance (Goldman, Simulating minds: The philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience of mindreading, 2006), I argue that simulation requires more than mere interpersonal mental resemblance: A simulation must have the purpose or function of resembling its target (Sect. 3.1). Given that mirroring processes are generated automatically, I focus on what is required for a simulation to possess the function of resembling its target. In Sect. 3.2 I argue that this resemblance function, at least in the case of simulation-based mindreading, requires that a simulation serve as a representation or stand-in of what it resembles. With this revised account of simulation in hand, in Sect. 4 I show that the mirroring processes do not necessarily possess the representational function required of simulation. To do so I describe an account of goal attribution involving a motor mirroring process that should not be characterized as interpersonal mental simulation. I end in Sect. 5 by defending the conceptual distinction between mirroring and simulation, and discussing the implications of this argument for the kind of neuroscientific evidence required by simulation theory. (shrink)
The distinction between analog and digital representation is reexamined; it emerges that a more fundamental distinction is that between symbolic and analog simulation. Analog simulation is analyzed in terms of a (near) isomorphism of causal structures between a simulating and a simulated process. It is then argued that a core concept, naturalistic analog simulation, may play a role in a bottom-up theory of adaptive behavior which provides an alternative to representational analyses. The appendix discusses some formal conditions for naturalistic analog (...) simulation. (shrink)
The theory-theory claims that the explanation and prediction of behavior works via the application of a theory, while the simulation theory claims that explanation works by putting ourselves in others' places and noting what we would do. On either account, in order to develop a prediction or explanation of another person's behavior, one first needs to have a characterization of that person's current or recent actions. Simulation requires that I have some grasp of the other person's behavior to project myself (...) upon; whereas theorizing requires a subject matter to theorize about. The frame problem shows that multiple, true characterizations are possible for any behavior or situation. However, only one or a few of these characterizations are relevant to explaining or predicting behavior. Since different characterizations of a behavior lead to different predictions or explanations, much of the work of interpersonal interpretation is done in the process of finding this characterization - that is, prior to either theorizing or simulating. Moreover, finding this characterization involves extensive knowledge of the physical, cultural, and social worlds of the persons involved. (shrink)
The theory of mind debate has reached a “hybrid consensus” concerning the status of theory-theory and simulation-theory. Extant hybrid models either specify co-dependency and implementation relations, or distribute mentalizing tasks according to folk-psychological categories. By relying on a non-developmental framework these models fail to capture the central connection between simulation and theory. I propose a “dynamic” hybrid that is informed by recent work on the nature of similarity cognition. I claim that Gentner’s model of structure-mapping allows us to understand simulation (...) as a process in which psychological representations are aligned, causing the spontaneous abstraction of theoretical generalizations about the psychological domain. (shrink)
Stich and Ravenscroft (1994) distinguish between internal and external accounts of folk psychology and argue that this distinction makes a significant difference to the debate over eliminative materialism. I argue that their views about the implications of the internal/external distinction for the debate over eliminativism are mistaken. First, I demonstrate that the first of their two external versions of folk psychology is either not a possible target of eliminativist critique, or not a target distinct from their second version of externalism. (...) Second, I show that whether or not the second of their two external version of folk psychology is open to eliminativist critique depends on ‘internal’ factors. Finally, I argue that they are wrong to claim that eliminativists might, by attacking external versions of folk psychology, escape being put out of business if the simulation theory is correct. (shrink)
This essay explains the prevalence of porn consumption by modeling it as a form of simulation. According to simulation theory (Gordon 1986, Goldman 2006) people predict and explain other’s behavior by using their own mind to model the mind of a target individual, much like an engineer might use a model aircraft to simulate the behavior of an actual aircraft. However, the cognitive mechanisms required for simulation have application outside of psychological interpretation. For example, it is plausible that while consuming (...) pornography individuals simulate the actual activities as depicted by the pornographic material. On this construal, viewers of pornography think and feel as though they are truly having the depicted experience: from the psychological and phenomenological perceptive of someone watching a pornographic video, they really are being sexually pleasured by others, and in just those specific ways. The goal of this essay is to develop the pornography-as-simulation model and examine both its social and theoretical implications. (shrink)
Mindreading is the ability to attribute mental states to other individuals. According to the Theory-Theory (TT), mindreading is based on one's possession of a Theory of Mind. On the other hand, the Simulation Theory (ST) maintains that one arrives at the attribution of a mental state by simulating it in one's own mind. In this paper, I propose a ST-TT hybrid model of the ability to attribute disgust on the basis of visual stimuli such as facial expressions, body postures, etc. (...) More precisely, while I defend Goldman's (2006) thesis that the ability to attribute disgust based on observing disgusted facial expressions stems from a mirror-based simulation process, I argue that ST is unable to account for the ability to attribute disgust based on non-facial visual stimuli; I propose, rather, that this latter ability is theory-based. My model is grounded in evidence from individuals suffering from Huntington's Disease. (shrink)
My purpose in this essay is to clarify the notion of explanation by computer simulation in artificial intelligence and cognitive science. My contention is that computer simulation may be understood as providing two different kinds of explanation, which makes the notion of explanation by computer simulation ambiguous. In order to show this, I shall draw a distinction between two possible ways of understanding the notion of simulation, depending on how one views the relation in which a computing system that performs (...) a cognitive task stands to the program that the system runs while performing that task. Next, I shall suggest that the kind of explanation that results from simulation is radically different in each case. In order to illustrate the difference, I will point out some prima facie methodological difficulties that need to be addressed in order to ensure that simulation plays a legitimate explanatory role in cognitive science, and I shall emphasize how those difficulties are very different depending on the notion of explanation involved. (shrink)
Simulation has emerged as an increasingly popular account of folk psychological (FP) talents at mind-reading: predicting and explaining human mental states. Where its rival (the theory-theory) postulates that these abilities are explained by mastery of laws describing the connections between beliefs, desires, and action, simulation theory proposes that we mind-read by "putting ourselves in another's shoes." This paper concerns connectionist architecture and the debate between simulation theory (ST) and the theory-theory (TT). It is only natural to associate TT with classical (...) architectures where rule governed operations apply to explicit propositional representations. On the other hand, ST would seem better tuned to procedurally oriented non-symbolic structures found in connectionist models. This paper explores the possible alignment between ST and connectionist architecture. Joe Cruz argues that connectionist models with distributed non-symbolic representations are particularly well suited to simulation theory. The purported linkage between connectionist architecture and simulation theory is criticized in this paper. The conclusion is that there are reasons for thinking that connectionist forms of representation are the enemy of both TT and ST. So the contribution of connectionism may be to suggest the need for an alternative to both views. (shrink)
In this paper, I hope to show how a recent theory in the philosophy of mind concerning how we ‘read’ the minds of others – namely, Heal’s version of simulation theory – is consistent with the view that the kind of understanding we bring to bear on the irrational is different in kind from the way we understand one another in the course of everyday life. I shall attempt to show that Heal’s version of simulation theory (co-cognition) is to be (...) favoured over its rival ‘theory theories’ in the light of its accommodation of deeply irrational mental states. I claim that simulation theory preserves an asymmetry of psychological explanation which is not similarly preserved by a theory theory account, and I argue that this preservation of asymmetry is an advantage of Heal’s account. (shrink)
Cet article ne se veut pas un commentaire suivi de la réflexion de Wittgenstein sur les règles. Ce ne sera pas non plus un commentaire de l’interprétation que Kripke fait du « suivi de la règle » chez Wittgenstein. Il ne sera pas davantage une application des thèses de Wittgenstein ni une tentative d’application directe d’une interprétation de ces thèses à l’épistémologie de la simulation du vivant ; ce qui serait, en soi, d’ailleurs contestable. Ce travail vise seulement à approfondir (...) la réflexion sur le statut cognitif de la simulation informatique du vivant. À ce titre, qui est donc essentiellement épistémologique et ciblé, il se veut une suggestion d’interprétation conceptuelle de certaines formes de simulation informatique du vivant, suggestion elle-même adossée à une prolongation de certaines distinctions déjà effectuées par Wittgenstein et ses commentateurs au sujet des règles et de leur suivi. L’objectif est de chercher à voir si, par ce moyen, la simulation informatique du vivant, par contraste avec les pratiques plus traditionnelles de modélisation, ne pourrait pas être plus précisément expliquée et légitimée, dans ses apports épistémologiques, comme dans ses limites aussi. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to discuss the “Framework for M&S with Agents” (FMSA) proposed by Zeigler et al. [2000, 2009] in regard to the diverse epistemological aims of agent simulations in social sciences. We first show that there surely are great similitudes, hence that the aim to emulate a universal “automated modeler agent” opens new ways of interactions between these two domains of M&S with agents. E.g., it can be shown that the multi-level conception at the core of (...) the FMSA is similar in both contexts: notions of “levels of system specifi cation”, “behavior of models”, “simulator”and “endomorphic agents” can be partially translated in the terms linked to the “denotational hierarchy” (DH) and recently introduced in a multi-level centered epistemology of M&S. Second, we suggest considering the question of “credibility” of agent M&S in social sciences when we do not try to emulate but only to simulate target systems. Whereas a stringent and standardized treatment of the heterogeneous internal relations (in the DH) between systems of formalisms is the key problem and the essential challenge in the scope of Agent M&S driven engineering, it is urgent too to address the problem of the external relations (and of the external validity, hence of the epistemic power and credibility) of such levels of formalisms in the specific domains of agent M&S in social sciences, especially when we intend to introduce the concepts of activity tracking. (shrink)
According to the "experimenter's regress", disputes about the validity of experimental results cannot be closed by objective facts because no conclusive criteria other than the outcome of the experiment itself exist for deciding whether the experimental apparatus was functioning properly or not. Given the frequent characterization of simulations as "computer experiments", one might worry that an analogous regress arises for computer simulations. The present paper analyzes the most likely scenarios where one might expect such a "simulationist's regress" to surface, and, (...) in doing so, discusses analogies and disanalogies between simulation and experimentation. I conclude that, on a properly broadened understanding of robustness, the practice of simulating mathematical models can be seen to have sufficient internal structure to avoid any special susceptibility to regress-like situations. (shrink)
Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in theories of mindreading. New discoveries in neuroscience have revitalized the languishing debate. The discovery of so-called mirror neurons has revived interest particularly in the Simulation Theory (ST) of mindreading. Both ST proponents and theorists studying mirror neurons have argued that mirror neurons are strong evidence in favor of ST over Theory Theory (TT). In this paper I argue against the prevailing view that mirror neurons are evidence for the ST of mindreading. (...) My view is that on an appropriate construal of their function, mirror neurons do not operate like simulation theorists claim. In fact, mirror neurons are more appropriately understood as one element in an information-rich mindreading process. As such, mirror neurons fit in better with some sort of TT account of mindreading. I offer a positive account, the Model TT, which better explains the role of mirror neurons in social cognition. (shrink)
The credibility of digital computer simulations has always been a problem. Today, through the debate on verification and validation, it has become a key issue. I will review the existing theses on that question. I will show that, due to the role of epistemological beliefs in science, no general agreement can be found on this matter. Hence, the complexity of the construction of sciences must be acknowledged. I illustrate these claims with a recent historical example. Finally I temperate this diversity (...) by insisting on recent trends in environmental sciences and in industrial sciences. (shrink)
Nick Bostrom’s ‘Simulation Argument’ purports to show that, unless we are confident that advanced ‘posthuman’ civilizations are either extremely rare or extremely rarely interested in running simulations of their own ancestors, we should assign significant credence to the hypothesis that we are simulated. I argue that Bostrom does not succeed in grounding this constraint on credence. I first show that the Simulation Argument requires a curious form of selective scepticism, for it presupposes that we possess good evidence for claims about (...) the physical limits of computation and yet lack good evidence for claims about our own physical constitution. I then show that two ways of modifying the argument so as to remove the need for this presupposition fail to preserve the original conclusion. Finally, I argue that, while there are unusual circumstances in which Bostrom’s selective scepticism might be reasonable, we do not currently find ourselves in such circumstances. There is no good reason to uphold the selective scepticism the Simulation Argument presupposes. There is thus no good reason to believe its conclusion. (shrink)
Simulation as an epistemic tool between theory and practice: A Comparison of the Relationship between Theory and Simulation in Science and in Folk Psychology In this paper I explore the concept of simulation that is employed by proponents of the so-called simulation theory within the debate about the nature and scientific status of folk psychology. According to simulation theory, folk psychology is not a sort of theory that postulates theoretical entities (mental states and processes) and general laws, but a practice (...) whereby we put ourselves into others’ shoes and simulate their situation from our own perspective. On the basis of this sort of simulation, we supposedly know how we would act or think or feel, and then expect the same of others. A closer look at the concept of simulation reveals some problems with this view, but also helps to clarify the insight motivating simulation theory. Specifically, I defend the thesis that the analogy to simulations in science shows us how theoretical elements in folk psychology can be complemented by (i.e. not replaced by) the central idea of simulation theory – namely that our own cognitive habits and dispositions provide us with a resource that is distinct from propositional knowledge in folk psychology. I also discuss the idea that our use of simulations during cognitive development enables us to imitate the people around us and thereby to become more similar to them, which in turn makes simulation an increasingly effective epistemic strategy. Insofar as theoretical elements – such as the distinctions, relations, and entities referred to in folk psychological discourse – play a role in imitative learning, they are causally embedded in our cognitive development, so we have good reason to regard them as being among the real causes of our behavior. (shrink)
Simulation theories of social cognition abound in the literature, but it is often unclear what simulation means and how it works. The discovery of mirror neurons, responding both to action execution and observation, suggested an embodied approach to mental simulation. Over the last years this approach has been hotly debated and alternative accounts have been proposed. We discuss these accounts and argue that they fail to capture the uniqueness of embodied simulation (ES). ES theory provides a unitary account of basic (...) social cognition, demonstrating that people e their own mental states or processes represented with a bodily format in functionally attributing them to others. (shrink)
The paper deals with an intellectual and historical approach to the changing meanings of the term “model” in life sciences. The author 1st tries to understand how modeling has gradually spread over life sciences then he particularly focus on the birth of mathematical modeling in this field. This quite new practice offers new insights on the old debate concerning the mathematization of life sciences. Nowadays, through computers, mathematics not only analyze or quantify but model things: what does it mean? The (...) question turns out to be dramatic as far as digital simulation is concerned. That is the reason why he choosed to study a particular case: the history of the individual plant mathematical modeling. On this case, one may discern various epistemological standpoints that caused various reactions to the emergence of computer simulation, from the 50s to the 90s. The author shows that philosophical views often play a role in the history of sciences, especially in the choice of supposed proper mathematical formalisms. This will indicate that contemporary discourses tend to echo each other. That is the reason why he feels authorized to address the Foucault’s concept—épistémè—to denote these convergences between the scientific and the philosophical discourses. Finally, it is suggested that this épistémè gradually is changing because one can currently observe the emergence of a “graphical” thought through these simulation experiments, which tends to replace a more functionalist thought. (shrink)
de Bruin & Gallagher (2012) suggest that the view of embodied simulation (ES) put forward in our recent article (Gallese and Sinigaglia 2011) lacks explanatory power. We argue that the notion of reuse of mental states represented with a bodily format provides a convincing simulational account of the mirroring mechanism (MM) and its role in mind-reading.
Accurately predicting other people's actions may involve two processes: internal real-time simulation (dynamic updating) and matching recently perceived action images (static matching). Using a priming of body parts, this study aimed to differentiate the two processes. Specifically, participants played a motion-controlled video game with either their arms or legs. They then observed arm movements of a point-light actor, which were briefly occluded from view, followed by a static test pose. Participants judged whether this test pose depicted a coherent continuation of (...) the previously seen action (i.e., “action prediction task”). Evidence of dynamic updating was obtained after compatible effector priming (i.e., arms), whereas incompatible effector priming (i.e., legs) indicated static matching. Together, the results support action prediction as engaging two distinct processes, dynamic simulation and static matching, and indicate that their relative contributions depend on contextual factors like compatibility of body parts involved in performed and observed action. (shrink)
Theory of mind explanations of how we know other minds are limited in several ways. First, they construe intersubjective relations too narrowly in terms of the specialized cognitive abilities of explaining and predicting another person's mental states and behaviors. Second, they sometimes draw conclusions about secondperson interaction from experiments designed to test third-person observation of another's behavior. As a result, the larger claims that are sometimes made for theory of mind, namely, that theory of mind is our primary and pervasive (...) means for understanding other persons, go beyond both the phenomenological and the scientific evidence. I argue that the interpretation of "primary intersubjectivity" as merely precursory to theory of mind is inadequate. Rather, primary intersubjectivity, understood as a set of embodied practices and capabilities, is not only primary in a developmental sense, but is the primary way we continue to understand others in second-person interactions. (shrink)
“The Matrix is a computer-generated dreamworld built to keep us under control” Morpheus, early in The Matrix. “ In dreaming, you are not only out of control, you don’t even know it…I was completely duped again and again the minute my pons, my amygdala, my perihippocampal cortex, my anterior cingulate, my visual association and parietal opercular cortices were revved up and my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was muffled” ” J. Allan Hobson, The Dream Drugstore, p.64 The Matrix is an exercise in (...) ambivalence, and at the very heart of that ambivalence lies the Dream. In our dreams, we are not in control. Real dreaming, unlike many popular philosophers’ fictions, is an altered state, closely related to the states induced by chemical manipulations such as the use of (certain) medical or recreational drugs. The dreaming brain is not like the wakeful brain. Normal sensory input is blocked, attentional capacities are impaired or lost, memory is distorted, reasoning and logic are weakened, narratives run wild, self-reflection is dampened or destroyed, emotion and instinct are hyperstimulated, and forms of ‘top-down’ willed control and decision-making diluted and easily overwhelmed. (shrink)
A central goal of contemporary cognitive science is the explanation of cognitive abilities or capacities. [Cummins 1983] During the last three decades a wide range of cognitive capacities have been subjected to careful empirical scrutiny. The adult's ability to produce and comprehend natural language sentences and the child's capacity to acquire a natural language were among the first to be explored. [Chomsky 1965, Fodor, Bever & Garrett 1974, Pinker 1989] There is also a rich literature on the ability to solve (...) mathematical problems [Greeno 1983], the ability to recognize objects visually [Rock 1983, Gregory 1970, Marr 1982], the ability to manipulate and predict the behavior of middle sized physical objects [McClosky 1983, Hayes 1985], and a host of others. (shrink)
For philosophers, the current phase of the debate with which this volume is concerned can be taken to have begun in 1986, when Jane Heal and Robert Gordon published their seminal papers (Heal, 1986; Gordon, 1986; though see also, for example, Stich, 1981; Dennett, 1981). They raised a dissenting voice against what was becoming a philosophical orthodoxy: that our everyday, or folk, understanding of the mind should be thought of as theoretical. In opposition to this picture, Gordon and Heal argued (...) that we are not theorists but simulators. For psychologists, the debate had begun somewhat earlier when Heider (1958) produced his work on lay psychology; and in more recent times the psychological debate had continued in developmental psychology and in work on animal cognition. (shrink)
Motor imagery typically involves an experience as of moving a body part. Recent studies reveal close parallels between the constraints on motor imagery and those on actual motor performance. How are these parallels to be explained? We advance a simulative theory of motor imagery, modeled on the idea that we predict and explain the decisions of others by simulating their decision-making processes. By proposing that motor imagery is essentially off-line motor action, we explain the tendency of motor imagery to mimic (...) motor performance. We close by arguing that a simulative theory of motor imagery gives (modest) support to and illumination of the simulative theory of decision-prediction. (shrink)
1. Introduction For philosophers, the current phase of the debate with which this volume is concerned can be taken to have begun in 1986, when Jane Heal and Robert Gordon published their seminal papers (Heal, 1986; Gordon, 1986; though see also, for example, Stich, 1981; Dennett, 1981). They raised a dissenting voice against what was becoming a philosophical orthodoxy: that our everyday, or folk, understanding of the mind should be thought of as theoretical. In opposition to this picture, Gordon and (...) Heal argued that we are not theorists but simulators. For psychologists, the debate had begun somewhat earlier when Heider (1958) produced his work on lay psychology; and in more recent times the psychological debate had continued in developmental psychology and in work on animal cognition. (shrink)
Currently, the widely used notion of activity is increasingly present in computer science. However, because this notion is used in specific contexts, it becomes vague. Here, the notion of activity is scrutinized in various contexts and, accordingly, put in perspective. It is discussed through four scientific disciplines: computer science, biology, economics, and epistemology. The definition of activity usually used in simulation is extended to new qualitative and quantitative definitions. In computer science, biology and economics disciplines, the new simulation activity definition (...) is first applied critically. Then, activity is discussed generally. In epistemology, activity is discussed, in a prospective way, as a possible framework in models of human beliefs and knowledge. (shrink)
Epistemology has recently come to more and more take the articulate form of an investigation into how we do, and perhaps might better, manage the cognitive chores of producing, modifying, and generally maintaining belief-sets with a view to having a true and systematic understanding of the world. While this approach has continuities with earlier philosophy, it admittedly makes a departure from the tradition of epistemology as first philosophy.
I will present a conceptual argument for a simulationist answer to (2). Given that our conception of mental states is employed in attributing mental states to others, a simulationist answer to (2) supports a simulationist answer to (1). I will not address question (3). Answers to (1) and (2) do not yield an answer to (3), since (1) and (2) concern only our actual practices and concepts. For instance, an error theory about (1) and (2) would say that our practices (...) and concepts manifest a mistaken view about the real nature of the mental. Finally, I will not address question (2a), which is an empirical question and so is not immediately relevant to the conceptual argument that is of concern here. (shrink)
Introduction -- Sanctioning models : theories and their scope -- Methodology for a virtual world -- A tale of two methods -- When theories shake hands -- Models of climate : values and uncertainties -- Reliability without truth -- Conclusion.
The paper presents an argument for treating certain types of computer simulation as having the same epistemic status as experimental measurement. While this may seem a rather counterintuitive view it becomes less so when one looks carefully at the role that models play in experimental activity, particularly measurement. I begin by discussing how models function as “measuring instruments” and go on to examine the ways in which simulation can be said to constitute an experimental activity. By focussing on the connections (...) between models and their various functions, simulation and experiment one can begin to see similarities in the practices associated with each type of activity. Establishing the connections between simulation and particular types of modelling strategies and highlighting the ways in which those strategies are essential features of experimentation allows us to clarify the contexts in which we can legitimately call computer simulation a form of experimental measurement. (shrink)
What is the simulation theory? Arguments for simulation theory Simulation theory versus theory theory Simulation theory and cognitive science Versions of simulation theory A possible test of the simulation theory.
This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is (...) false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. A number of other consequences of this result are also discussed. (shrink)
Simulationists have recently started to employ the term "empathy" when characterizing our most basic understanding of other minds. I agree that empathy is crucial, but I think it is being misconstrued by the simulationists. Using some ideas to be found in Scheler's classical discussion of empathy, I will argue for a different understanding of the notion. More specifically, I will argue that there are basic levels of interpersonal understanding - in particular the understanding of emotional expressions - that are not (...) explicable in terms of simulation-plus-projection routines. (shrink)
There are a variety of topics in the philosophy of science that need to be rethought, in varying degrees, after one pays careful attention to the ways in which computer simulations are used in the sciences. There are a number of conceptual issues internal to the practice of computer simulation that can benefit from the attention of philosophers. This essay surveys some of the recent literature on simulation from the perspective of the philosophy of science and argues that philosophers have (...) a lot to learn by paying closer attention to the practice of simulation. (shrink)
The same neural structures involved in the unconscious modeling of our acting body in space also contribute to our awareness of the lived body and of the objects that the world contains. Neuroscientific research also shows that there are neural mechanisms mediating between the multi-level personal experience we entertain of our lived body, and the implicit certainties we simultaneously hold about others. Such personal and body-related experiential knowledge enables us to understand the actions performed by others, and to directly decode (...) the emotions and sensations they experience. A common functional mechanism is at the basis of both body awareness and basic forms of social understanding: embodied simulation. It will be shown that the present proposal is consistent with some of the perspectives offered by phenomenology. (shrink)
What is the connection between mirror processes and mindreading? The paper begins with definitions of mindreading and of mirroring processes. It then advances four theses: (T1) mirroring processes in themselves do not constitute mindreading; (T2) some types of mindreading (“low-level” mindreading) are based on mirroring processes; (T3) not all types of mindreading are based on mirroring (“high-level” mindreading); and (T4) simulation-based mindreading includes but is broader than mirroring-based mindreading. Evidence for the causal role of mirroring in mindreading is drawn from (...) intention attribution, emotion attribution, and pain attribution. Arguments for the limits of mirroring-based mindreading are drawn from neuroanatomy, from the lesser liability to error of mirror-based mindreading, from the role of imagination in some types of mindreading, and from the restricted range of mental states involved in mirroring. “High-level” simulational mindreading is based on enactment imagination, perspective shifts, or self-projection, which are found in activities like prospection and memory as well as theory of mind. The role of cortical midline structures in executing these activities is examined. (shrink)
Both macaque monkeys and humans have been shown to have what are called ‘mirror neurons’, a class of neurons that respond to goal-related motor-actions, both when these actions are performed by the subject and when they are performed by another individual observed by the subject. Gallese and Goldman (1998) contend that mirror neurons may be seen as ‘a part of, or a precursor to, a more general mind- reading ability’, and that of the two competing theories of mind-reading, mirror neurons (...) lend support to simulation theory. I here offer four reasons why I think mirror neurons do not provide support for simulation theory over its contender, theory theory. (shrink)
Mental simulation is the simulation, replication or re-enactment, usually in imagination, of the thinking, decision-making, emotional responses, or other aspects of the mental life of another person. According to simulation theory, mental simulation in imagination plays a key role in our everyday psychological understanding of other people. The same mental resources that are used in our own thinking, decision-making or emotional responses are redeployed in imagination to provide an understanding of the thoughts, decisions or emotions of another.
I present in this paper a line of refutation of the Simulation Argument. I recall first Bostrom's Simulation Argument. I draw then a comparison between the Emerald Case and the core analogy underlying the Simulation Argument. I also discuss the justification of the Self-Indication Assumption and its relationship with the Simulation Argument. I show lastly that the Simulation Argument is a disguised reformulation of an application of an extended form of the Self-Indication Assumption to the situation related to the Simulation (...) Argument. (shrink)
Theory theorists conceive of social cognition as a theoretical and observational enterprise rather than a practical and interactive one. According to them, we do our best to explain other people's actions and mental experience by appealing to folk psychology as a kind of rule book that serves to guide our observations through our puzzling encounters with others. Seemingly, for them, most of our encounters count as puzzling, and other people are always in need of explanation. By contrast, simulation theorists do (...) their best to avoid the theoretical stance by using their own experience as the measure of everyone else's. When it comes to explaining how we understand other people some of the very best contemporary philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists are simulationists. For example, Vittorio Gallese, Alvin Goldman, Robert Gordon, Jane Heal, Susan Hurley, and Marc Jeannerod. This short list of simulationists, however, already involves some problems. Not everyone on this list understands simulation in the same way. In effect, there are different simulation theories, and although it is important to distinguish them, and I will do so before I go much further, I will in the end argue against all of them. For several reasons I don't think that the concept of simulation explains our primary and pervasive way of understanding others, any more than theory theory does. (shrink)
In this paper we shed new light on the Argument from Disagreement by putting it to test in a computer simulation. According to this argument widespread and persistent disagreement on ethical issues indicates that our moral opinions are not influenced by any moral facts, either because no such facts exist or because they are epistemically inaccessible or inefficacious for some other reason. Our simulation shows that if our moral opinions were influenced at least a little bit by moral facts, we (...) would quickly have reached consensus, even if our moral opinions were affected by factors such as false authorities, external political shifts, and random processes. Therefore, since no such consensus has been reached, the simulation gives us increased reason to take seriously the Argument from Disagreement. Our conclusion is however not conclusive; the simulation also indicates what assumptions one has to make in order to reject the Argument from Disagreement. The simulation algorithm we use builds on the work of Hegselmann and Krause (J Artif Soc Social Simul 5(3); 2002, J Artif Soc Social Simul 9(3), 2006). (shrink)
What exactly do we do when we try to make sense of other people e.g. by ascribing mental states like beliefs and desires to them? After a short criticism of Theory-Theory, Interaction Theory and the Narrative Theory of understanding others as well as an extended criticism of the Simulation Theory in Goldman's recent version (2006), we suggest an alternative approach: the Person Model Theory . Person models are the basis for our ability to register and evaluate persons having mental as (...) well as physical properties. We argue that there are two kinds of person models, nonconceptual person schemata and conceptual person images , and both types of models can be developed for individuals as well as for groups. (shrink)