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KOSMOS Public Lecture: Vittorio Gallese (Parma) “Embodied simulation: A second-person approach to social cognition”

Public lecture as part of KOSMOS Summer University

The discovery of a mirror mechanism for action, emotions and sensations suggested an embodied approach to simulation – Embodied Simulation (ES). ES provides a new empirically based notion of intersubjectivity, viewed first and foremost as intercorporeity. ES challenges the notion that Folk Psychology is the sole account of interpersonal understanding. Before and below mind reading is intercorporeity as the main source of knowledge we directly gather about others. By means of ES we do not just “see” an action, an emotion, or a sensation and then understand it through an inference by analogy. By means of ES we can map others’ actions by re-using our own motor representations, as well as others’ emotions and sensations by re-using our own viscero-motor and somatosensory representations. ES provides an original and unitary account of basic aspects of intersubjectivity, demonstrating how deeply our making sense of others’ living and acting bodies is rooted in the power of re-using our own motor, emotional and somatosensory resources. The notion that a theoretical meta-representational approach to the other is the sole/main key to intersubjectivity will be challenged and a second-person approach to intersubjectivity will be proposed. Some wideranging implications of this model will be briefiy discussed.

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