One of the central insights of the embodied cognition (EC) movement is that cognition is closely tied to action. In this paper, I formulate an EC-inspired hypothesis concerning social cognition. In this domain, most think that our capacity to understand and interact with one another is best explained by appeal to some form of mindreading. I argue that prominent accounts of mindreading likely contain a significant lacuna. Evidence indicates that what I call an agent's actional processes and states-her goals, needs, intentions, desires, and so on-likely play important roles in and for mindreading processes. If so, a full understanding of mindreading processes and their role in cognition more broadly will require an understanding of how actional mental processes interact with, influence, or take part in mindreading processes.

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Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences
Department of Philosophy

Shepherd, J. (2012). Action, mindreading and embodied social cognition. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 11(4), 507–518. doi:10.1007/s11097-011-9241-z