Revisiting mirror-neuron based embodied simulation

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This article defends mirror-neuron based embodied simulation (MNBES) from four criticisms. First, the charge that MNBES cannot account for action understanding because it cannot account for the propositional attitude of intention fails, because embodied simulation proffers a “bottom-up” account of action understanding. Second, like much neurological science, MNBES is underwritten by an assumed correlation between cognitive functional processes (i.e. simulation) and neurological mechanisms (i.e. mirror neurons), and to demand mirror-neuron theorists close the explanatory gap asks too much. Third, MNBES has been criticized because it fails to provide an account of the necessary and sufficient conditions of social cognition, but I show that neurological accounts, like most empirical science, do not aim to meet this philosophical standard. In the final section I argue that the shared representation of goals supervenes on mirror-neuron activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-235
Number of pages23
JournalMind and Matter
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


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