A Critique of Embodied Simulation

 

Social cognition is the capacity to understand and interact with others. The mainstream account of social cognition is mindreading, the view that we humans understanding others by interpreting their behavior in terms of mental states. Recently theorists from philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience have challenged the mindreading account, arguing for a more deflationary account of social cognition. In this paper I examine a deflationary account of social cognition, embodied simulation, which is inspired by recent neuroscientific findings. I argue that embodied simulation fails to present an adequate alternative to mindreading accounts of social cognition. I defend a philosophically and empirically plausible two-systems account of social cognition, which holds that even very young children are capable of mindreading.

 

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