This research investigates 3- and 5-year-olds' relative fairness in distributing small collections of even or odd numbers of more or less desirable candies, either with an adult experimenter or between two dolls. The authors compare more than 200 children from around the world, growing up in seven highly contrasted cultural and economic contexts, from rich and poor urban areas, to small-scale traditional and rural communities. Across cultures, young children tend to optimize their own gain, not showing many signs of self-sacrifice (...) or generosity. Already by 3 years of age, self-optimizing in distributive justice is based on perspective taking and rudiments of mind reading. By 5 years, overall, children tend to show more fairness in sharing. What varies across cultures is the magnitude of young children's self-interest. More fairness (less self-interest) in distributive justice is evident by children growing up in small-scale urban and traditional societies thought to promote more collective values. (shrink)
To what extent do early intuitions about ownership depend on cultural and socio-economic circumstances? We investigated the question by testing reasoning about third party ownership conflicts in various groups of three- and five-year-old children (N = 176), growing up in seven highly contrasted social, economic, and cultural circumstances (urban rich, poor, very poor, rural poor, and traditional) spanning three continents. Each child was presented with a series of scripts involving two identical dolls fighting over an object of possession. The child (...) had to decide who of the two dolls should own the object. Each script enacted various potential reasons for attributing ownership: creation, familiarity, first contact, equity, plus a control/neutral condition with no suggested reasons. Results show that across cultures, children are significantly more consistent and decisive in attributing ownership when one of the protagonists created the object. Development between three and five years is more or less pronounced depending on culture. The propensity to split the object in equal halves whenever possible was generally higher at certain locations (i.e., China) and quasi-inexistent in others (i.e., Vanuatu and street children of Recife). Overall, creation reasons appear to be more primordial and stable across cultures than familiarity, relative wealth or first contact. This trend does not correlate with the passing of false belief theory of mind. (shrink)
A prevailing view in moral psychology holds that empathy and sympathy play key roles in morality and in prosocial and altruistic actions. Recently, Jesse Prinz (2011a, 2011b) has challenged this view and has argued that empathy does not play a foundational or causal role in morality. He suggests that in fact the presence of empathetic emotions is harmful to morality. Prinz rejects all theories that connect empathy and morality as a constitutional, epistemological, developmental, motivational, or normative necessity. I consider two (...) of Prinz’s theses: the thesis that empathy is not necessary for moral development, and the thesis that empathy should be avoided as a guide for morality. Based on recent research in moral psychology, I argue that empathy plays a crucial role in development of moral agency. I also argue that empathy is desirable as a moral emotion. (shrink)
Freud held complex and fascinating views on the question of mental causation. In this chapter, I propose an interpretation of Freud's views on this question, bringing together ideas from psychoanalysis, philosophy of psychoanalysis, and philosophy of mind. Faced with the impasse of the problem of how the mind interacts with the body, Freud created a two-dimensional picture of mental causation, with one dimension involving mechanistic causes and the other involving intentional causes. My thesis is that Freud's best-developed picture of mental (...) causation thesis describes mental causes as intentional causes using psychological vocabulary. I analyze three moments in Freud's work with a focus on mental causation. In the first topography, Freud uses a hybrid vocabulary, describing the mind in terms of both mechanistic causes and intentional causes. In his second topography, the mind increasingly assumes an intentional description. The third moment is Freud’s theory of anxiety, in which the arational cause of the unconscious drives, initially presented as a motor of the mind, gives rise to anxiety as an affective state that forces the self to find a solution for its mental conflicts. In the last part, I argue that Freud’s theory gradually moves from a reductionist approach to the mind-body problem on which mental causation is understood in terms of physical mechanisms, to a non-reductionist view where the mental becomes causally efficacious in its own right. (shrink)
The sense of shared values is a specific aspect of human sociality. It originates from reciprocal social exchanges that include imitation, and empathy, but also negotiation from which meanings, values and norms are eventually constructed with others. Research suggests that this process starts from birth via imitation and mirroring processes that are important foundations of sociality providing a basic sense of social connectedness and mutual acknowledgment with others. From the second month, mirroring, imitative and other contagious responses are bypassed. Neonatal (...) imitation gives way to first signs of reciprocation (primary intersubjectivity), and joint attention in reference to objects (secondary intersubjectivity). We review this development and propose a third level of intersubjectivity, that is the emergence of values that are jointly represented and negotiated with others, as well as the development of an ethical stance accompanying emerging theories of mind from about 4 years of age. We propose that tertiary intersubjectivity is an ontogenetically new process of value negotiation and mutual recognition that are the cardinal trademarks of human sociality. (shrink)
This chapter is devoted to reflecting on the role of empathy in interactions with people with profound intellectual disabilities. We have a duty to respect people with intellectual disabilities. Respect involves identification with a point of view. We owe them an effort at identification with their perspective. However, if intellectually disabled people’s communicative abilities are impaired, our apprehension of their point of view might be limited, reducing our ability to identify with them and respect them. To answer this challenge, I (...) appeal to empathy. Through imaginative empathy, we can learn to identify with their perspectives. I argue that empathy is a good moral guide and can be helpful in developing respectful attitudes toward people with profound intellectual disabilities. (shrink)
I argue that newborn infants are conscious. I propose a methodology for investigating infant consciousness, and I present two approaches for determining whether newborns are conscious. First, I consider behavioral and neurobiological markers of consciousness. Second, I investigate the major theories of consciousness, including both philosophical and scientific theories, and I discuss what they predict about infant consciousness.
Our goal is to investigate the notion of self-agency in William James and Donald Winnicott. With James, we examine the descriptive element of what constitutes a self. With Winnicott, we explore his explanatory theory on self-emergence. Winnicott's perspective is presented here as the prehistory of the Jamesian self. James's conception of self is similar to the Winnicottian notion of an "integrated self", an embodied position that emerges from the organism's actions in the experiential field. The combination of the two approaches (...) leads to the idea that the self is a flux of identities emerging in interaction with others in the "transitional space" (an intermediate area of experience). (shrink)
Social animals need to share space and resources, whether sexual partners, parents, or food. Sharing is indeed at the core of social life. Humans, however, of all social animals, have distinct ways of sharing. They evolved to become Homo Negotiatus; a species that is prone to bargain and to dispute the value of things until some agreement is reached.
O problema da causa mental é uma das questões filosóficas mais fascinantes na obra de Freud. A releitura neo-pragmática que Cláudia Passos-Ferreira faz sobre o tema se insere no interior de profícuos debates no campo da Psicanálise, Filosofia da Psicanálise e da Filosofia da Mente que têm contribuído para a inovação do pensamento nas teorizações psicanalíticas. Em A maquina semântica de Freud, Cláudia aborda a teoria causal do mental de Freud e seu uso na explicação do conflito psíquico. Diante dos (...) impasses do problema, Freud criou uma dupla dimensão da causalidade psíquica, que oscila da causa mecanicista à causa intencional. A hipótese de Cláudia é que a forma mais coerente de defender a tese da causalidade psíquica é descrevê-la como ‘causa intencional’, usando o vocabulário psicológico. Para dar suporte a essa ideia, a concepção estrita da causalidade sustentada por Wittgenstein é dispensada, e a ideia de causa mental em Davidson é endossada como aquela que pode ser mais facilmente articulável às hipóteses freudianas. Em Wittgenstein, busca-se, sobretudo, o apoio teórico para analisar os pontos fracos das teses causais freudianas; em Davidson, o suporte necessário a explicitação e validação lógicas do que Freud afirma sobre o tema. Claudia analisa três momentos da obra freudiana. Na primeira tópica, Freud usa um vocabulário híbrido, descrevendo o psiquismo tanto em termos de causas a-racionais quanto em termos intencionais. Na segunda tópica, o psiquismo assume, cada vez mais, uma descrição intencional, e a causa a-racional da energia pulsional, inicialmente apresentada como um motor do psiquismo, dá lugar a angústia como um afeto intencional que obriga o eu a encontrar uma solução para os conflitos psíquicos. Esse livro reúne tanto o interesse filosófico pelos problemas da causação mental e da relação mente-corpo quanto o refinamento do arcabouço teórico que guia a prática clínica. (shrink)
Two questions about infant consciousness are especially central. First: are infants conscious? Second: what is infants’ conscious experience like? In previous work, I have addressed the first, arguing that newborn babies are conscious at birth and that it is possible to know something about what infants’ experiences are like. In this talk, I address the second, investigating the phenomenal structure of infant consciousness. I discuss whether infants have a rich or a minimal phenomenology. The current consensus is that infants have (...) perceptual experiences and experiences of pain and pleasure. But, do they have other types of phenomenology? Using Kriegel’s framework from The Varieties of Consciousness (2015), I explore whether infants have sensory phenomenology, cognitive phenomenology, imaginative phenomenology, emotional phenomenology, and agentive phenomenology. I also address the question of what is the phenomenal background of infants’ first-person experiences, and whether or not they have a minimal pre-reflexive structure of consciousness. (shrink)
Imitation and mirroring processes are necessary but not sufficient conditions for children to develop human sociality. Human sociality entails more than the equivalence and connectedness of perceptual experiences. It corresponds to the sense of a shared world made of shared values. It originates from complex ‘open’ systems of reciprocation and negotiation, not just imitation and mirroring processes that are by definition ‘closed’ systems. From this premise, we argue that if imitation and mirror processes are important foundations for sociality, human inter-subjectivity (...) develops primarily in reciprocation, not just imitation. Imitation provides a basic sense of social connectedness and mutual acknowledgment of existing with others that are ‘like me.’ However, it does not allow for the co-construction of meanings with others. For human sociality to develop, imitation and mirroring processes need to be supplemented by an open system of reciprocation. Developmental research shows that from the second month, mirroring, imitative, and other contagious emotional responses are by-passed. Imitation gives way to first signs of reciprocation (primary intersubjectivity), joint attention to objects (secondary intersubjectivity), the emergence of values that are jointly represented and negotiated with others (tertiary intersubjectivity), and eventually the development of an ethical stance accompanying theories of mind by 4 years of age. We review this development and propose that if mirroring processes enable individuals to bridge their subjective experiences, human inter-subjectivity proper develops from reciprocal social exchanges that lead to value negotiation and mutual recognition, both cardinal trademarks of human sociality. (shrink)