Chapter

Reading One's Own Mind

Shaun Nichols and Stephen P. Stich

in Mindreading

Published in print September 2003 | ISBN: 9780198236108
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191600920 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198236107.003.0004

Series: Oxford Cognitive Science Series

Reading One's Own Mind

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The most widely held account of self-awareness is the “theory theory”, according to which self-awareness is a theory-mediated process which depends on the same “theory of mind” that underlies the attribution of mental states to others. The chapter distinguishes several versions of the theory theory of self-awareness and presents an alternative account, according to which self-awareness is subserved by a monitoring mechanism that is independent of the theory of mind. The chapter also describes and disputes the prominent arguments for the theory theory, including a wellknown argument based on parallels between the development of first person and third person mindreading. Finally, it is argued that clinical findings on autism and schizophrenia seem to favor the view that the mechanism for self-awareness is independent of the theory of mind.

Keywords: appearance/reality distinction; autism; detecting vs. reasoning; development; dissociations; phenomenology; psychopathology; schizophrenia; self-awareness; theory theory; Simon Baron-Cohen; Alison Gopnik; Alvin Goldman

Chapter.  22584 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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