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Journal Article

Modeling self on others: An import theory of subjectivity and selfhood


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

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Prinz, W. (2017). Modeling self on others: An import theory of subjectivity and selfhood. Consciousness and Cognition, 49, 347-362. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2017.01.020.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002C-5122-2
This paper outlines an Import Theory of subjectivity and selfhood. Import theory claims that subjectivity is initially perceived as a key feature of other minds before it then becomes imported from other minds to own minds whereby it lays the ground for mental selfhood. Import theory builds on perception-production matching, which in turn draws on both representational mechanisms and social practices. Representational mechanisms rely on common coding of perception and production. Social practices rely on action mirroring in dyadic interactions. The interplay between mechanisms and practices gives rise to model self on others. Individuals become intentional agents in virtue of perceiving others mirroring themselves. The outline of the theory is preceded by an introductory section that locates import theory in the broader context of competing approaches, and it is followed by a concluding section that assesses import theory in terms of empirical evidence and explanatory power.