Mirror self-recognition and symbol-mindedness

Biology and Philosophy (2012)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Abstract   The view that mirror self-recognition (MSR) is a definitive demonstration of self-awareness is far from universally accepted, and those who do support the view need a more robust argument than the mere assumption that self-recognition implies a self-concept (e.g. Gallup in Socioecology and Psychology of Primates, Mouton, Hague, 1975 ; Gallup and Suarez in Psychological Perspectives on the Self, vol 3, Erlbaum, Hillsdale, 1986 ). In this paper I offer a new argument in favour of the view that MSR shows self-awareness by examining the nature of the mirror image itself. I argue, using the results of ‘symbol-mindedness’ experiments by Deloache (Trends Cogn Sci 8(2):66–70, 2004) , that where self-recognition exists, the mirror image must be functioning as a symbol from the perspective of the subject and the subject must therefore be ‘symbol-minded’ and hence concept possessing. Further to this, according to the Concept Possession Hypothesis of Self-Consciousness (Savanah in Conscious Cogn 2011 ), concept possession alone is sufficient to demonstrate the existence of self-awareness. Thus MSR as a demonstration of symbol-mindedness implies the existence of self-awareness. I begin by defending the ‘mark test’ protocol as a robust methodology for determining self-recognition. Then follows a critical examination of the extreme views both for and against the interpretation of MSR as an indication of self-awareness: although the non-mentalistic interpretation of MSR is unconvincing, the argument presented by Gallup is also inadequate. I then present the symbol-mindedness argument to fill in the gaps in the Gallup approach. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-17 DOI 10.1007/s10539-012-9318-2 Authors Stephane Savanah, ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD), Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia Journal Biology and Philosophy Online ISSN 1572-8404 Print ISSN 0169-3867

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,247

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Arithmetical and Specular Self-Reference.Damjan Bojadžiev - 2004 - Acta Analytica 19 (33):55-63.
Mirror, Mirror -- Is That All?Robert Van Gulick - 2006 - In Uriah Kriegel & Kenneth Williford (eds.), Self-Representational Approaches to Consciousness. MIT Press.
Right Hemispheric Self-Awareness: A Critical Assessment.Alain Morin - 2002 - Consciousness and Cognition 11 (3):396-401.
Psi, Perception Without Awareness and False Recognition.Stuart Wilson - 2002 - Journal of Parapsychology 66 (3):271-289.

Analytics

Added to PP
2012-03-30

Downloads
72 (#165,233)

6 months
1 (#415,205)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Stephane Joseph Savanah
Macquarie University

Citations of this work

Science, Sentience, and Animal Welfare.Robert C. Jones - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (1):1-30.
The Puzzle of Mirror Self-Recognition.Johannes Brandl - 2018 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 17 (2):279-304.
Mirror Self‐Recognition and Self‐Identification.Alexandria Boyle - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):284-303.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Meaning.Herbert Paul Grice - 1957 - Philosophical Review 66 (3):377-388.
Theory of Mind in Nonhuman Primates.C. M. Heyes - 1998 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):101-114.

View all 18 references / Add more references