Mirroring People

Marco Iacoboni, Mirroring People. I found out about this book through Charles Mudede's review of it. Actually, I didn't read the whole review. I read the first sentence. Halfway through the second sentence, I had already ordered the book from Amazon. Yep, it's an interesting book.

Lakoff and Johnson's 1999 book Philosophy in the Flesh persuades that a philosophy of mind should be motivated by our knowledge of cognitive science and neurology. That is, what we believe about minds should be consistent with what we know about brains.

Iacoboni's work on mirror neurons, described in his book, thus provides a new foundation on which to address critical philosophical questions. What does one person really know about another? How do we know that we understand another person, or have been understood? In mirror neurons, Iacoboni and his collaborators have uncovered the specific neurological machinery by which we comprehend and imitate the actions of others, and by which we empathize.

The answer is fascinating and unexpected: when we perceive an action by others, we experience the action as if we had performed it ourselves. In a real and visceral sense, we empathize with others by experiencing what they experince. We are far less trapped in our own brains than was once thought. Specific neurological mechanisms allow us to understand the actions and emotional states of others as if they were our own. Iacoboni shows us a world far less lonely than almost anyone has ever imagined.

1 comment:

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Mirroring is common in conversation . The listeners will typically smile or frown along with the speaker. If one person throws in sports metaphors, the other will likely parry along similar ideas. Since people usually accept their mirror image with ease.