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Imitation, conscious will and social conditioning

Daniel Rueda Garrido ()
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Daniel Rueda Garrido: Hebei Normal University

Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, 2021, vol. 20, issue 1, No 7, 85-102

Abstract: Abstract This essay aims to explore imitation in social contexts. The argument that summarizes my claim is that the perception of other people’s behaviour conditions the agent in imitating that behaviour, as evidence from social psychology holds (Bargh and Chartrand in J Pers Soc Psychol 76(6):893–910, 1999; Bargh and Ferguson in Psychol Bull 126(6):925–945, 2000; Bargh and Ferguson in Trends Cogn Sci 8(1):33–39, 2004), but what the agent perceives and experiences becomes potential motives for her actions only through her identification with a particular way of being and acting. Therefore, although the agent’s actions are conditioned by perceptual stimuli, the latter are not the cause of the actions. The agent is the ultimate cause. That is, a convergence between perceptual stimuli and conscious will. I take this latter conclusion to suggest a compatibilist approach whereby action in a social situation would require the perceptual conditioning as much as the freedom and consciousness of the agent.

Keywords: Conscious will; Self-image; Perception-behaviour link; Motives; Social conditioning; Compatibilism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s11299-020-00259-9

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