Ontogeny, Autism, Empathy, and Evolution

Alvin I. Goldman

in Simulating Minds

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780195138924
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786480 | DOI:

Series: Philosophy of Mind Series

 Ontogeny, Autism, Empathy, and Evolution

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A wide variety of well-studied phenomena associated with mindreading are surveyed to probe the consistency of what is known about them with our version of simulation theory. These phenomena include key ontogenetic stages such as gaze following, early intention tracking, and role play, as well as the psychopathology of autism. A link between mirror-neuron dysfunction and autism provides suggestive support for the simulation approach. Our distinction between low-level and high-level simulation fits comfortably with dual-process theories in cognitive science that draw a fundamental distinction between automatic and controlled processes. A tentative conjecture is offered about the evolution of simulation and mindreading, at least for more primitive kinds of simulation.

Keywords: autism; automatic processes; controlled processes; dual-process theories; evolution; gaze following; mirror-neuron dysfunction; role play

Chapter.  14691 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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