Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 20 (1):139-167 (2020)
AbstractStarting from Proust’s distinction between the self-attributive and self-evaluative views on metacognition, this paper presents a third view: self-mindshaping. Based on the notion of mindshaping as the core of social cognition, the self-mindshaping view contends that mindshaping abilities can be turned on one’s own mind. Against the self-attributive view, metacognition is not a matter of accessing representations to metarepresent them but of giving shape to those representations themselves. Against the self-evaluative view, metacognition is not blind to content but relies heavily on it. We characterize our view in terms of four issues that, according to Proust, distinguish the previous approaches, namely, whether metacognitive mechanisms are the same as those employed to access other minds, whether metacognitive control requires conceptual representation, whether metacognition is propositional, and whether metacognitive access is linked to mental action. After describing some of the mechanisms for self-mindshaping, we show how this view regards metacognition as grounded on social interaction mechanisms, conceptually driven, possibly, but not necessarily, propositional, and engaged in the practical regulation of mental states. Finally, we examine the prospects for the primacy of self-mindshaping as the primary metacognitive function. We argue that self-attributive processes typically subserve the practical goals emphasized by the mindshaping view, and that the evaluative role played by procedural metacognition can be grounded on social cues rather than on experiential feelings. Even if this is not enough to claim the primacy of self-mindshaping, it still appears as a third kind of metacognition, not reducible to the other two.
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