Edited by Fabio Paglieri
[Advances in Consciousness Research 86] 2012
► pp. 125–150
Mind-reading is adapted for social interaction (e.g. coordination, cooperation, exchange), and, in particular, for adoption of beliefs and goals from others, and for influencing, manipulating, persuading them; that is, changing the other mind, beliefs and goals, in order to change their behavior. Given this ability to interpret the others’ mind and to use this representation to induce certain behavior in others, in this paper I discuss the introjection of this mechanism, a reflexive application of this form of social cognition and action to our own selves. Or better, to be “our selves” means to have such a social-like representation (image) of us as a person, to know and to build who we are, by creating, updating and operating through this image. I assume that there is self-directed mind-reading and self-influencing: I learn to read my own behavior in mental terms; I learn to have a reflexive mind-reading, based not on introspection but on behavior interpretation; this leads me to meta-represent by beliefs, goals, etc. For what? Not just for understanding what I’m doing and why, not just for predicting and expecting what I will do, but also (and perhaps mostly) for helping myself and cooperating with myself, for influencing myself: changing my own mind, in particular my goals. In order to fighting or cooperating with myself, “imposing” to myself certain preferences, contrasting unwanted needs or dangerous desires. This activity involves reflexive communication acts, requests, duties, emotions, promises, and the like, all of which constitute a form of reflexive sociality: the intrapersonal re-use of skills and mechanisms originally evolved to serve interpersonal needs. Keywords: mind-reading; power; manipulation; self; will; sociality; internalization
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