More questions for mirror neurons
The mirror neuron system is widely held to provide direct access to the motor goals of others. This paper critically investigates this idea, focusing on the so-called ‘intentional worry’. I explore two answers to the intentional worry: first that the worry is premised on too limited an understanding of mirror neuron behaviour (Sections and ), second that the appeal made to mirror neurons can be refined in such a way as to avoid the worry (Section 4). I argue that the first response requires an account of the mechanism by which small-scale gestures are supposedly mapped to larger chains of actions but that none of the extant accounts of this mechanism are plausible. Section 4 then briefly examines refinements of the mirror neuron-mindreading hypothesis which avoid the intentional worry. I conclude that these refinements may well be plausible but that they undermine many of the claims standardly made for mirror neurons. âº Philosophical investigation of the claims made for mirror neurons. âº Rejects the orthodox view that mirror neurons provide a key to mindreading by giving direct access to others’ motor goals. âº Critically examines the extant options for the mechanism which maps small-scale gestures to motor chains.