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Mirror Neurons, a Return to Pragmatism and Implications for an Embodied Intersubjectivity

  • David D. Franks
Chapter
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Sociology book series (BRIEFSSOCY)

Abstract

The early discovery of mirror neurons is traced from about 1991 when Rizzolatti and Sinigalia discovered them. The simulation of the behavior of others on the brain’s motor cortex is discussed as are other areas holding mirror neurons. How this can be related to language is briefly addressed, as is the original meaning of empathy. The subjective results of mirror neurons are considered at this point. V.S. Ramachandran’s early and overenthusiastic endorsement of mirror neurons is described as are a group of scholarly responses to mirror neurons from 2010 until 2016. Included are Cecilia Heyes (Neuro Image 51:789–791, 2010) showing that mirror neurons can be affected by experience, then Patricia Churchland (Braintrust: what neuroscience tells us about morality. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2011) who describes difficulties with mirror neurons. Next, Sharon Begley (Mindful, 2014) represents a more recent interpretation as does Christian Jarrett (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brain-myths/201212/mirror-neurons-the-most-hyped-concept-in-neuroscience. Posted 10 December 2012). Like many of these authors, he insists that the broken mirror theory of autism has no validity. The rest of the chapter integrates findings of mirror neurons with the social behaviorism of G.H. Mead. The chapter ends with a criticism of mirror neurons by Hickok.

Keywords

Affordances Mirror neurons Motor cortex “Hegelian Waltz” Empathy Intentions Social behaviorism 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • David D. Franks
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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