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date: 22 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Humans are hyper-social beings, highly dependent on others and on successfully interacting with them. Which theory can adequately describe our ability to understand others? In the literature we have an intense debate among proponents of theory-theory, simulation theory, and interaction theory. I argue first that none of these accounts is adequate but that we need to go in the direction of what I call the “person model theory.” The second important question is which types of embodiment (or further aspects of 4E) are systematically relevant for social understanding according to the person model theory? I argue that there are clear cases of embodiment of social understanding, while extendedness and/or enactment seem to be only clearly implemented in early infancy. Furthermore, 4E features of being embodied, enacted, extended, or embedded can only be ascribed to an implementation, a token of a specific type which makes the 4E features intensely context-dependent.

Keywords: person model theory, theory-theory, simulation theory, interaction theory, person schema, person image, direct perception, social understanding, multiplicity view, participatory sense-making

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