Advertisement

Social and Moral Aspects of the Self

  • Majid Davoody BeniEmail author
Chapter
  • 102 Downloads
Part of the New Directions in Philosophy and Cognitive Science book series (NDPCS)

Abstract

The chapter accounts for social and moral aspects of the self along structural terms. There are already fine neuroscientific theories that account for the embodiment of the relational self in the manifold of interpersonal relations. Vittorio Gallese has developed such a theory. Gallese’s theory indicates that the structure of the social self is based on the mirror neuron system’s information processing. In this chapter, I outline a comprehensive theory of structural self on the basis of a synthesis between Gallese’s relational self that is embodied in the web of social relations and structural realist theory of the self (SRS) which—according to what I said in previous chapters—thus far takes care of reflective and phenomenal aspects of the self. To consolidate the synthesis I draw attention to the integration (via dynamical interconnection) between the mirror neuron system, which embodies the social aspects of the self, and the Default Mode Network, which realises the reflective aspects of the self-structure. The chapter also deals with the moral aspects of the structural self. Firstly, I argue that recent findings in moral neuroscience can support a structural account of the moral aspects of the self. Then, by drawing on Peter Railton’s work, I argue that the SRS provides a chance for finding a middle ground between egotism and alienation, so as to develop a viable theory of moral judgements.

Keywords

Social cognition Relational self The mirror neuron system The Default Mode Network Social self Moral neuroscience Alienation 

References

  1. Barsalou, L. W. (2008). Grounded Cognition. Annual Review of Psychology, 59(1), 617–645.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.59.103006.093639 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beni, M. D. (2019). An Outline of a Unified Theory of the Relational Self: Grounding the Self in the Manifold of Interpersonal Relations. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 18(3), 473–491.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11097-018-9587-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cisek, P. (2007). Cortical Mechanisms of Action Selection: The Affordance Competition Hypothesis. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 362(1485), 1585–1599.  https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2007.2054 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cisek, P., & Kalaska, J. F. (2010). Neural Mechanisms for Interacting with a World Full of Action Choices. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 33(1), 269–298.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.neuro.051508.135409 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clark, A. (2016). Busting Out: Predictive Brains, Embodied Minds, and the Puzzle of the Evidentiary Veil. Noûs.  https://doi.org/10.1111/nous.12140 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Drayson, Z. (2018). Direct Perception and the Predictive Mind. Philosophical Studies, 175(12), 3145–3164.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-017-0999-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Frith, C. D. (2008). Social Cognition. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 363(1499), 2033–2039.  https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2008.0005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Frith, C. D., & Frith, U. (2007). Social Cognition in Humans. Current Biology, 17(16), R724–R732.  https://doi.org/10.1016/J.CUB.2007.05.068 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gallagher, S. (2014). Pragmatic Interventions into Enactive and Extended Conceptions of Cognition. Philosophical Issues, 24(1), 110–126.  https://doi.org/10.1111/phis.12027 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gallagher, S., & Allen, M. (2016). Active Inference, Enactivism and the Hermeneutics of Social Cognition. Synthese, 1–22.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-016-1269-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gallese, V. (2003). The Manifold Nature of Interpersonal Relations: The Quest for a Common Mechanism. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 358(1431). Retrieved from http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/358/1431/517.short CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gallese, V. (2014). Bodily Selves in Relation: Embodied Simulation as Second-Person Perspective on Intersubjectivity. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 369(1644). Retrieved from http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1644/20130177.short CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gallese, V. (2017). Neoteny and Social Cognition: A Neuroscientific Perspective on Embodiment. In Embodiment, Enaction, and Culture. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.  https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/9780262035552.003.0017 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gallese, V., Eagle, M. N., & Migone, P. (2007). Intentional Attunement: Mirror Neurons and the Neural Underpinnings of Interpersonal Relations. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 55(1), 131–175.  https://doi.org/10.1177/00030651070550010601 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gallese, V., Keysers, C., & Rizzolatti, G. (2004). A Unifying View of the Basis of Social Cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8(9), 396–403.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2004.07.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Giambra, L. M. (1995). A Laboratory Method for Investigating Influences on Switching Attention to Task-Unrelated Imagery and Thought. Consciousness and Cognition, 4(1), 1–21.  https://doi.org/10.1006/ccog.1995.1001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Glenberg, A. M. (2010). Embodiment as a Unifying Perspective for Psychology. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 1(4), 586–596.  https://doi.org/10.1002/wcs.55 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Grant, E. R., & Spivey, M. J. (2003). Eye Movements and Problem Solving: Guiding Attention Guides Thought. Psychological Science, 14(5), 462–466.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9280.02454 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hutto, D. D. (2015). Basic Social Cognition Without Mindreading: Minding Minds Without Attributing Contents. Synthese, 194(3), 827–846.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-015-0831-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jung, W. H., Prehn, K., Fang, Z., Korczykowski, M., Kable, J. W., Rao, H., & Robertson, D. C. (2016). Moral Competence and Brain Connectivity: A Resting-State fMRI Study. NeuroImage, 141, 408–415.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.07.045 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Keysers, C., & Gazzola, V. (2007). Integrating Simulation and Theory of Mind: From Self to Social Cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11(5), 194–196.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2007.02.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Leech, R., Kamourieh, S., Beckmann, C. F., & Sharp, D. J. (2011). Fractionating the Default Mode Network: Distinct Contributions of the Ventral and Dorsal Posterior Cingulate Cortex to Cognitive Control. The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 31(9), 3217–3224.  https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5626-10.2011 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Li, W., Mai, X., & Liu, C. (2014). The Default Mode Network and Social Understanding of Others: What Do Brain Connectivity Studies Tell Us. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8(74).  https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00074
  24. Mitchell, J. P., Macrae, C. N., & Banaji, M. R. (2006). Dissociable Medial Prefrontal Contributions to Judgments of Similar and Dissimilar Others. Neuron, 50(4), 655–663.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2006.03.040 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Molnar-Szakacs, I. (2011). From Actions to Empathy and Morality—A Neural Perspective. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 77(1), 76–85.  https://doi.org/10.1016/J.JEBO.2010.02.019 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Molnar-Szakacs, I., & Uddin, L. Q. (2013). Self-Processing and the Default Mode Network: Interactions with the Mirror Neuron System. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7(571).  https://doi.org/10.3389/FNHUM.2013.00571
  27. Parr, L. A., Waller, B. M., & Fugate, J. (2005). Emotional Communication in Primates: Implications for Neurobiology. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 15(6), 716–720.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conb.2005.10.017 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pascual, L., Rodrigues, P., & Gallardo-Pujol, D. (2013). How Does Morality Work in the Brain? A Functional and Structural Perspective of Moral Behavior. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 7(65).  https://doi.org/10.3389/fnint.2013.00065
  29. Pezzulo, G., Barsalou, L. W., Cangelosi, A., Fischer, M. H., McRae, K., & Spivey, M. J. (2012). Computational Grounded Cognition: A New Alliance Between Grounded Cognition and Computational Modeling. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 612.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00612 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Railton, P. (1984). Alienation, Consequentialism, and the Demands of Morality. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 13(2), 134–171. Retrieved from http://philosophyfaculty.ucsd.edu/faculty/rarneson/Courses/railtonalienationconsequentialism.pdf
  31. Ratcliffe, M. (2013). The Structure of Interpersonal Experience (pp. 221–238).  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-01616-0_12 Google Scholar
  32. Rizzolatti, G., & Luppino, G. (2001). The Cortical Motor System. Neuron, 31(6), 889–901. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11580891
  33. Sandrone, S. (2013). Self Through the Mirror (Neurons) and Default Mode Network: What Neuroscientists Found and What Can Still Be Found There. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7(383).  https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2013.00383
  34. Schippers, M. B., & Keysers, C. (2011). Mapping the Flow of Information Within the Putative Mirror Neuron System During Gesture Observation. NeuroImage, 57(1), 37–44.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.02.018 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Singer, T., Seymour, B., O’Doherty, J. P., Stephan, K. E., Dolan, R. J., & Frith, C. D. (2006). Empathic Neural Responses Are Modulated by the Perceived Fairness of Others. Nature, 439(7075), 466–469.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nature04271 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Uddin, L. Q., Iacoboni, M., Lange, C., & Keenan, J. P. (2007). The Self and Social Cognition: The Role of Cortical Midline Structures and Mirror Neurons. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11(4), 153–157.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2007.01.001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Umiltà, M. A., Kohler, E., Gallese, V., Fogassi, L., Fadiga, L., Keysers, C., & Rizzolatti, G. (2001). I Know What You Are Doing. Neuron, 31(1), 155–165.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0896-6273(01)00337-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Varela, F. J., Thompson, E., & Rosch, E. (1991). The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wohlschläger, A., Haggard, P., Gesierich, B., & Prinz, W. (2003). The Perceived Onset Time of Self- and Other-Generated Actions. Psychological Science, 14(6), 586–591.  https://doi.org/10.1046/j.0956-7976.2003.psci_1469.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious StudiesNazarbayev UniversityNur-Sultan cityKazakhstan
  2. 2.The Amirkabir University of TechnologyTehranIran

Personalised recommendations