Philosophical Psychology (2):1-23 (2012)

Talia Welsh (2006) argues that Shaun Gallagher and Andrew Meltzoff's (1996) application of neonatal imitation research is insufficient grounds for their claim that neonates are born with a primitive body image and thus an innate self-awareness. Drawing upon an understanding of the self that is founded upon a ?theory of mind,? Welsh challenges the notion that neonates have the capacity for self-awareness and charges the supposition with an essentialism which threatens to disrupt more social constructionist understandings of the self. In this paper, I initially defend Gallagher and Meltzoff's (1996) application of infant imitation to understandings of neonatal self-awareness by explaining how body image schemas can be understood as non-representational embodied cognitive phenomena that challenge ?theory of mind? theory. I then further develop the claim that neonates are born self-aware with reference to my own work in fetal development. I conclude that Welsh's political concerns are unfounded by showing how the conclusion that a neonate is self-aware does not signal a return to an essentialist understanding of self-awareness, but rather introduces into philosophical and psychological discourse possible alternate understandings of an embodied sense of self that are embedded within intersubjective contexts
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DOI 10.1080/09515089.2012.724585
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References found in this work BETA

Self-Knowledge and "Inner Sense": Lecture I: The Object Perception Model.Sydney Shoemaker - 1994 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (2):249-269.

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Imitation Reconsidered.Ellen Fridland & Richard Moore - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (6):856-880.

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