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Review: The Neural Evidence for Simulation Is Weaker than I Think You Think It Is

Reviewed Work: Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading by Alvin I. Goldman
Review by: Rebecca Saxe
Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition
Vol. 144, No. 3 (Jun., 2009), pp. 447-456
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27734457
Page Count: 10
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The Neural Evidence for Simulation Is Weaker than I Think You Think It Is
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Abstract

Simulation theory accounts of mind-reading propose that the observer generates a mental state that matches the state of the target and then uses this state as the basis for an attribution of a similar state to the target. The key proposal is thus that mechanisms that are primarily used online, when a person experiences a kind of mental state, are then co-opted to run Simulations of similar states in another person. Here I consider the neuroscientific evidence for this view. I argue that there is substantial evidence for co-opted mechanisms, leading from one individual's mental state to a matching state in an observer, but there is no evidence that the output of these co-opted mechanisms serve as the basis for mental state attributions. There is also substantial evidence for attribution mechanisms that serve as the basis for mental state attributions, but there is no evidence that these mechanisms receive their input from co-opted mechanisms.

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