Read the thoughts of others

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Uploaded: 23.02.2009
Content: simulating_minds.rar (1490,81 kB)

Description

A perennial problem in philosophy of mind is how we understand self and
others, how we identify the feelings, thoughts, and designs that compose our
own daily lives and those of our neighbors, lovers, and foes. Is there anything
to be learned here from common lore? People often say that they understand
others by empathizing with them, by putting themselves in others’ shoes: ‘‘I
feel your pain.’’ Is there any truth to this expression? Contemporary neuroscience
has determined that there is much truth to it. When people observe
others in pain, part (though not all) of their own pain system is activated. This
provides an initial piece of scientific support for the intuitive idea that understanding
others is mediated by putting ourselves in their (mental) shoes. In
its bare essentials, this is what the simulation theory holds. Simulation theory
is one approach to how people ‘‘mindread,’’ the general question we’ll be
tackling here from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Additional information

The Philosophy, Psychology,
and Neuroscience of
Mindreading

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