Embodiment in Simulation Theory and Cultural Science, with Remarks on the Coding-Problem of Neuroscience

  • Sigrid Weigel


The chapter discusses the role of cultural sciences (Kulturwissenschaften) in bridging the still existing gap between neuroscience and psychoanalysis against the background of the rising interest in mirror mechanisms, mimetic functions, imitation, simulation, embodiment, language and metaphors as well as their proximity to figures that have long belonged to the traditional subjects of the humanities. Knowledge on human expressions within a cultural-historical timeframe may be adduced to bridge the gap between data from empirical research and the evolution of the brain based on speculative knowledge.

Weigel concentrates on certain unsolved epistemological problems to be reconsidered in light of knowledge from cultural science. Drawing on Freud and Walter Benjamin, she examines the quantity-quality-problem and the coding problem in simulation theory with reference to theories of language, gesture and image in the humanities. An example completes the chapter’s presentation of the cultural production of ‘compassion’ in medieval times in relation to the concept of empathy in recent neuroscience.


Kulturwissenschaften Simulation theory Mirror neurons Mimesis Coding Language Cultural history Empathy Compassion 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zentrum für Literatur- und KulturforschungBerlinGermany

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