THEORY OF MIND


Wolf Singer Verschaltungen legen uns fest.
in: Hirnforschung und Willensfreiheit
edition suhrkamp 2004
pg 46f
Eine weitere Voraussetzung für die Konstitution eines Selbst, das sich frei wähnt, so mein Vorschlag, ist die soziale Interaktion. Mir scheint unser Selbstmodell wesentlich dadurch geprägt, daß wir uns in den kognitiven Funktionen, in der Wahrnehmung des je anderen spiegeln können, daß wir in Dialoge eintreten können des Formats »Ich weiß, daß du weißt, daß ich weiß« oder »Ich weiß, daß du fühlst, wie ich mich empfinde« usw. Solche iterativen Spiegelungsprozesse könnten die Erfahrung vermitteln, ein autonomer Agent zu sein, der frei über sich verfügen kann. Um in solche Dialoge eintreten zu können, müssen jedoch zwei Bedingungen erfüllt sein. Es sind dies kognitive Funktionen, über die nur menschliche Gehirne verfügen. Zum einen bedarf es der Fähigkeit, eine Theorie des Geistes aufzubauen. Dies bezeichnet die Möglichkeit, sich vorzustellen, was im anderen vorgeht, wenn dieser sich in einer bestimmten Situation befindet. Mit Ausnahme der großen Menschenaffen fehlt Tieren diese Fähigkeit. Lediglich bei Schimpansen wurden bislang Ansätze dafür gefunden. Der Grund ist, daß für diese Leistung Hirnstrukturen erforderlich sind, die erst beim Menschen ihre volle Ausprägung erfahren. Diese evolutionsgeschichtlich jungen Strukturen reifen erst im Laufe der ersten Lebensjahre aus, weshalb auch kleine Kinder keine Theorie des Geistes aufbauen können.


Hurford Language Evolution

Tomasello Origins of Language

Michael Tomasello
The Cultural Origins of HUMAN COGNITION
Harvard Univ. Press 2000

Michael Tomasello
Constructing a Language
A Usage-Based Theory of Language Aquisition
Harvard 2003

Robin Dunbar Essays

Steven Johnson
EMERGENCE
The Connected Lives of Ants,Brains,Cities, and Software
Scribner 2004

Shaun Gallagher
Hermeneutics and the Cognitive Sciences

Journal ofConsciousness Studies, 11, no 10-11, 2004 pg 162-74
Understanding Others:
I suggested that second-person interactions cannot be characterized as simply the interaction of two brains- or the presence of shared representations in two brains. I do not mean that we should ignore neuroscience. Indeed, if there were not at least two brains involved, there would be no second-person interaction. Cognitive social neuroscience can contribute to our understanding of how we understand each other, as persons, and how empathy is possible. But this is also a central aim of hermeneutics. First, I want to briefly rehearse some familiar recent work in neuroscience that helps us to understand, from that scientific perspective, how we interact with other people. Second, I want to discuss how cognitive scientists interpret these findings.
The work on mirror neurons is now well known. Mirror neurons were discovered in the premotor cortex (area F5) of the Macaque monkey and, there is good evidence to suggest that they can be found in the premotor cortex and Broca's area in the human (see Fadiga et al., 1995; Rizzolatti et al., 1996; Grafton et al., 1996). Mirror neurons respond both when a particular motor action is performed by the subject and when the same goal-directed action performed by another individual is observed. Mirror neurons thus constitute an intermodal link between the visual perception of action or dynamic expression, and the first -person, intrasubjective, proprioceptive sense of one's own capabilities. Vittorio Gallese (2001) saggests that such neurons contribute to a cognitive neuroscience account of empathy. He suggests that empathy, or social cognition, consists of a 'resonance' existing between the observer's and the observed agent's motor systems, forming a 'shared manifold' between the observer's body schema and the agent's body schema.
Before we consider this and other interpretations, let's look at some more recent discoveries that are quite consistent with and extend the work on mirror neurons. Brain imaging studies of subjects who (1) engage in instrumental action, (2) observe another person act, (3) simulate the action of another, or (4) plan to imitate the action of another, show that brain areas activated for each of these tasks overlap (Jeannerod, 1997; Ruby & Decety, 2001; Grezes & Decety, 2001). If I see you pick up a glass to take a drink, the very same areas in my brain are activated as when I myself pick up a glass to take a drink. Here we are not talking about individual neurons, but neural systems. Moreover, when I consciously simulate or imagine myself doing a certain action, or imagine you doing that action, or prepare to imitate an action that you have just completed, the brain areas activated for my cognitive acts are the very same ones that are activated for my own actual motor behaviour.
These studies of mirror neurons and shared neural representations have directly informed debates that are central to the concerns of hermeneutics, that is, debates about the nature of understanding others and empathy. In effect, when philosophers of mind, psychologists, and neuroscientists address what is usually referred to as theory of mind, they are (and in most cases unknowingly) entering into the older hermeneutical debates about understanding and empathy.
Theory of mind is defined as our ability to 'mentalize' or mind-read the mental states of others in order to explain and predict their behaviour. There are ongoing debates between those who champion a theory approach to theory of mind and those who defend a simulation approach. The first group, the 'theory theorists', propose that the way we understand others involves the employment of a theoretical stance: we theorize (implicitly or explicitly) about others in order to explain or predict their behaviour. In contrast, simulation theorists argue that our understanding of others is based on our ability to simulate what the other person is thinking or feeling. For example, we virtually put ourselves in the other person's place, run a simulation routine in our own mind, and then infer that this is what she must be thinking.
Simulationists now appeal to the evidence from cognitive neuroscience discussed above (e.g., Gallese & Goldman, 1998; Gordon, 2002; in press). Simulation is possible because we have similar brains with mirror neurons and shared representational areas activated in the appropriate way. Theory theorists are not completely without scientific resources, however. They can appeal to false-belief tests that show that understanding the minds of other seems to involve a theoretical stance that is gained around four years of age in normal, non-autistic children. Importantly, both theory theorists and simulation theorists claim that theory of mind is the primary way we go about understanding others, not just when we're four, but throughout our life.
Interaction theory is an alternative to both theory theory and simulation theory (see Gallagher 2001; in press). This approach can also appeal to the neuroscience evidence about mirror neurons and shared neural representations, and a large body of evidence from developmental psychology concerning the abilities of infants to parse and understand the intentions of others in a non-mentalistic way. This view pushes the age of understanding, if not of reason, back to infancy and suggests that throughout our life our primary way of understanding, if not of explaining or predicting, is more embodied and socially embedded than our ability to mentalize through the use of theory or simulation.

SOCIAL MIRROR THEORY

Charles Whitehead
Social Mirrors and Shared Experiential  Worlds
Journal of Consciousness Studies
Vol.8, no.4 2001
http://www.imprint-academic.demon.co.uk/T2000/03-16.html
http://www.imprint.co.uk/jcs_8_4.html

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