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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front. Philos. China    2020, Vol. 15 Issue (4) : 636-652
Comparative Perspectives on Solutions for the Problem of Other Minds
FEI Duoyi()
Department of Philosophy, School of Humanities, China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing 100088, China
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This paper aims to establish a dialogue between contemporary research on the problem of other minds and classical Chinese philosophical theories. It first explores the idea, inspired by the recent discovery of the mirror neuron mechanism, that a direct exchange of experience may occur between the observer and the observed. Next, it analyzes the ways in which the ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi and Confucian thinkers reflected on the problem of other minds, which are quite similar to the idea inspired by the latest research on mirror neurons. In these thinkers’ views, knowledge of other minds is the result of mental activity and what it provides is, to a large extent, something related not to epistemology but rather to a situational understanding of other minds from the perspective of value theory. The author points out that this solution takes two aspects, humans’ innate nature and human experience, into consideration simultaneously. In terms of humans’ innate nature, the body of a human being is a body that represents the unity of man and nature, and it has something in common with the natural world, which lays a foundation for the perception of other minds. In terms of human experience, human beings have such actual needs as emotions, pursuits, and desires, and their behaviors need to conform to certain norms. It is in a body of this kind that the mind of human beings can be formed and enjoy the potential to develop. Effective interpersonal communication can thus be achieved.

Keywords other minds      experience      situation      kind      beings      mirror neuron      Chinese philosophical theories     
Issue Date: 23 December 2020
 Cite this article:   
FEI Duoyi. Comparative Perspectives on Solutions for the Problem of Other Minds[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2020, 15(4): 636-652.
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