The Fabric of Social Life

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

 The Fabric of Social Life

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Many of our distinctively human social traits are interwoven with simulational propensities. A stroll through simulation-related topics includes the psychological underpinnings of social bonds, our fascination with fiction, and the relevance of simulation and empathy to moral theory. The “chameleon effect”, which involves unconscious mimicry of facial expressions, postures, and mannerisms, promotes cohesion and liking within a group. Enactment imagination and empathy lie at the core of our experience of fiction. Emotional empathy, i.e., affective contagion, is a crucial determinant of the quality of life, and high-level empathy, or perspective taking, plays a critical role in moral motivation and moral principles, especially universalization principles like the golden rule.

Keywords: chameleon effect; contagion; empathy; fiction; golden rule; mimicry; moral motivation; perspective taking; quality of life; social bonds

Chapter.  13066 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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