After all, it’s still replication: A reply to Jacob on simulation and mirror neurons

Res Cogitans 8 (1):92-111 (2011)
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Mindreading is the ability to attribute mental states to other individuals. According to the simulation theory (ST), mindreading is based on the ability the mind has of replicating others' mental states and processes. Mirror neurons (MNs) are a class of neurons that fire both when an agent performs a goal-directed action and when she observes the same type of action performed by another individual. Since MNs appear to form a replicative mechanism in which a portion of the observer's brain replicates the agent's brain, MNs have been considered evidence in favor of ST. Jacob (2008), however, has maintained that the recent discovery of so-called logically related MNs refutes the hypothesis that MNs form a replicative mechanism. In this paper, I argue that, contrary to what is claimed by Jacob, one can accept the existence of logically related MNs and, at the same time, still maintain that the activity of MNs is replicative. It follows that MNs still support ST.
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