J. Kevin O’Regan on qualia.
In the early 90s an Italian team of neuroscientists reported a new class of brain cells in the macaque monkey. These mirror neurons responded just as well during the monkey’s own actions as when the monkey watched someone else performing similar actions. The mirror neuron theory took off and has been used to explain many aspects of what it is to be human—such as language, empathy, imitation and even autism. We re-examine the mirror neuron theory—has been it applied too widely?