Empathy and Social Cognition. A Darwinian Reading of the Mirror Neuron System

Journal title PARADIGMI
Author/s Alessandra Attanasio, Alberto Oliverio
Publishing Year 2012 Issue 2012/3 Language Italian
Pages 46 P. 93-138 File size 220 KB
DOI 10.3280/PARA2012-003007
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The integration of neuroscience and philosophy is essential for understanding the complex phenomena of mind, empathy and social cognition. Even though the results of neuroscience have mostly been analysed from a Darwinian perspective, the mirror neuron system, after a first analytical approach, has been interpreted from a phenomenological viewpoint. The paper shows the incompatibility of the social-embodied cognition of the mirror system with phenomenology, which from the beginning has been critical of any empirical science and any form of naturalism. The intellectual structure of phenomenology makes the "transcendental I" a substitute for the old soul-substance, and intersubjectivity a meta-intersubjectivity. The alternative view proposed here is a Darwinian reading of the mirror system, centred on a social-emotional-embodied mind, rooted in the "Reason-Instinct" of Hume and the emotional revolution of James.

Keywords: Empathy, Mind, Neo-Darwinism, Neuron Mirror System, Social Cognition, Phenomenology.

Alessandra Attanasio, Alberto Oliverio, Empatia e cognizione sociale. Una lettura darwiniana del mirror neuron system in "PARADIGMI" 3/2012, pp 93-138, DOI: 10.3280/PARA2012-003007