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Journal Article

Self in the mirror


Prinz,  Wolfgang
Department Psychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Prinz, W. (2013). Self in the mirror. Consciousness and Cognition, 22(3), 1105-1113. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2013.01.007.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-E2C5-F
What are mirror systems good for? Several suggestions have been made in response to this question, addressing the putative functions of mirror systems in minds and brains. This paper examines possible contributions of mirror systems to the emergence of subjectivity. At the heart of the discussion is the notion of social mirroring, which has a long tradition in social philosophy and social anthropology. Taking the existence of mirror devices in minds and brains for granted, I argue that social mirroring is a prerequisite for the constitution of mental selves, and, hence, the emergence of subjectivity. However, the fact that self and subjectivity are socially created should not be taken to indicate that they are illusory. They are as real as natural facts are.