The neurological discovery of mirror neurons is of eminent importance for the phenomenological theory of intersubjectivity. G. Rizzolatti and V. Gallese found in experiments with primates that a set of neurons in the premotor cortex represents the visually registered movements of another animal. The activity of these mirror neurons presents exactly the same pattern of activity as appears in the movement of one's own body. These findings may be extended to other cognitive and emotive functions in humans. I show (...) how these neurological findings might be “translated” phenomenologically into our own experienced sensations, feelings and volitions. (shrink)
I discuss Husserl’s account of intersubjectivity in the fifth Cartesian Meditation. I focus on the problem of perceived similarity. I argue that recent work in developmental psychology and neuroscience, concerning intermodal representation and the mirror neuron system, fails to constitute a naturalistic solution to the problem. This can be seen via a comparison between the Husserlian project on the one hand and Molyneux’s Question on the other.
1. Introduction. The problems of other minds ; Body, mind and other minds ; The analogical theory ; The critical theory ; Functionalism and mental states as theoretical entities ; A brief outline of things to come -- 2. Functionalism and the nature of mental representations. Functionalism and cognitive psychology ; Folk psychology and the representational theory of mind -- 3. Theory theory and simulation theory. A very short introduction to the world of theory theory and simulation theory ; A (...) look at simulation theory ; A look at theory theory -- 4. Intentionality and the theory theory. The generic theory theory ; Cognitive and primordial intentionality ; Theory theorists and primordial intentionality ; Fodor's computational theory of primordial intentionality -- 5. The body schema. Historical notes on the notion of body schema ; An outline of a notion of body schema -- 6. On the notion of primordial intentionality. Concrete and abstracts movements ; Why primordial intentionality is not reducible to cognitive intentionality ; The intentionality of primordial intentionality -- 7. The irreducibility of primordial intentionality. The first argument against homuncular functionalism ; The second argument against homuncular functionalism -- 8. Transferring the body schema. Husserl's phenomenology of intersubjectivity ; Towards a primordial intentionality of intersubjectivity ; Some implications and a comparison to Husserl -- 9. Theory theory and simulation theory revisited. Attribution of primordial intentionality as cognitive simulation ; If homuncular functionalism were true ... ; Primordial intentionality and belief-desire psychology ; The theory of body schematic transfer and the simulation theory -- 10. Body schematic transfer and the conceptual problem of other minds. Strawson on the problem of other minds ; Disarming Strawson's objections ; Solving the conceptual problem -- 11. Concluding remarks -- Summary in Swedish -- References. (shrink)
This article draws in particular on existential-phenomenological notions of “witnessing.” Witnessing, often conceived in the context of testimony, obviously involves epistemological concerns, such as how we come to know through the experiences and reports of others. I shall argue, however, that witnessing as a mode of intersubjectivity offers understandings that involve questions about how people come to be. More specifically, I want to consider the positive potential of “witnessing” to disrupt intersubjective completeness or closure, particularly as this relates to (...) work on organizing subjectivities, as well as, in the field of organization studies. (shrink)
Articulate and perceptive, Intersubjectivity is a text that explains the notions of intersubjectivity as a central concern of philosophy, sociology, psychology, and politics. Going beyond this broad-ranging introduction and explication, author Nick Crossley provides a critical discussion of intersubjectivity as an interdisciplinary concept to shed light on our understanding of selfhood, communication, citizenship, power, and community. The volume traces the contributions of key thinkers engaged within the intersubjectivist tradition, including Husserl, Buber, Kojeve, Merlau-Ponty, Mead, Wittgenstein, Schutz, and (...) Habermas. A clear, concise introduction to a range of difficult concepts and thinkers, Intersubjectivity demystifies this very interdisciplinary subject for advanced and graduate-level students of philosophy, sociology, social psychology, and social and political theory. (shrink)
Psychotic and prodromal states are characterized by distortions of intersubjectivity, and a number of psychopathologists see in the concrete I-You frame of the clinical encounter the manifestation of such impairment. Rümke has coined the term of ‘praecox-feeling’, designated to describe a feeling of unease emanating in the interviewer that reflects the detachment of the patient and the failure of an ‘affective exchange.’ While the reliability of the praecox-feeling as a diagnostic tool has since been established, the explanation and theoretical (...) framing of the phenomena is still lacking. By drawing on enactivist approaches to social cognition, the paper will attempt to provide such an explanation. This is relevant, since such an explanation could contribute to a more precise understanding of the phenomena in question and possibly add to our knowledge regarding the link between experiential vulnerability to psychosis and disturbed I-Thou intersubjectivity. (shrink)
The paper aims to show that scepticism concerning the status of first-person reports of mental states and their use as evidence in scientific cognitive research is unfounded. Rather, principled arguments suggest that the conditions for the intersubjectivity of cognition and description of publicly observable things apply equally for our cognition and description of our mental or internal states. It is argued that on these conditions relies the possibility of developing well-defined scientific criteria for distinguishing between first-person and third-person cognition (...) and description. The paper concludes by outlining the consequences for cognitive research and for functional theories of mind. (shrink)
This article describes some of the main arguments for the existence of other minds, and intersubjectivity more generally, that depend upon a transcendental justification. This means that our focus will be largely on ‘continental’ philosophy, not only because of the abiding interest in this tradition in thematising intersubjectivity, but also because transcendental reasoning is close to ubiquitous in continental philosophy. Neither point holds for analytic philosophy. As such, this essay will introduce some of the important contributions of Edmund (...) Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Karl-Otto Apel, all of whom use transcendental reasoning as a key part of their analyses of intersubjectivity, and we also consider the work of Peter Strawson who does likewise in the analytic tradition. (shrink)
The article connects a sociological perspective on violence to the problem of intersubjectivity. After an overview of sociological and cultural accounts of violence, we turn to a fundamental problem caused by the experience of violence. In dialogue with Frances Chaput Wakslers book on The New Orleans Sniper (2010) we discuss a case in which the problem of intersubjectivity figures prominently. The erratic nature of violent acts committed by an unseen sniper is experienced as existential crisis in which the (...) question of subjectivity loses its certainty for the social actors involved. As a consequence the problem of intersubjectivity but also questions of framing past events are opened up for sociological research. (shrink)
My focus in this essay is Shoshone and Paiute arguments against the Yucca Mountain site that claim that because Yucca Mountain is a culturally significant sacred place it should not be used to store nuclear waste. Within this set of arguments for the cultural value of Yucca Mountain, I focus on arguments that claim that the proposed nuclear waste site will damage Yucca Mountain and its ecosystem—the mountain, plants, and animals themselves. These arguments assume that Yucca Mountain and its ecosystem (...) are animate and will suffer. An understanding of Western Shoshone and Southern Paiute perspectives on the human relationship to nature, particularly adherence to the concept of animist intersubjectivity, is crucial towards interpreting these arguments. As such, my purpose in this essay is an in-depth analysis of the relationship between the cultural presumption of animist intersubjectivity and Shoshone and Paiute arguments against the Yucca Mountain site. In order to explore this relationship, I begin the paper by discussing concept of animist intersubjectivity as a cultural presumption and its relationship to arguments. Then, I analyze Shoshone and Paiute arguments against the Yucca Mountain site to reveal how animist intersubjectivity influences these arguments. I conclude the essay by explaining the implications of this analysis. (shrink)
On the distinction between static and genetic phenomenologies -- On time consciousness and its relationship to intersubjectivity -- On the question of intersubjectivity -- The Husserlian account of ethics -- Conclusion: The impact of genetic phenomenology.
This paper distinguishes between implicit self-related information and explicit self-representation and argues that the latter is required for self-consciousness. It is further argued that self-consciousness requires an awareness of other minds and that this awareness develops over the course of an increasingly complex perspectival differentiation, during which information about self and other that is implicit in early forms of social interaction becomes redescribed into an explicit format.
This article provides an introduction to a special issue of the journal Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology, On Understanding and Explaining Schizophrenia. The article identifies a common thread running through the different contributions to this special issue, inspired by Jaspers's (1963) suggestion that a profound impairment in the ability to engage in interpersonal and social relations is a key factor in psychiatric disorders. It is argued that this suggestion can help solve a central dilemma in psychopathology, which is to make intelligible (...) the emergence and nature of psychiatric phenomena involving disturbances of rationality, intentionality and self-consciousness, whilst at the same time accounting for a sense in which such phenomena resist understanding. (shrink)
A compelling new approach to the problem that has haunted twentieth century philosophy in both its analytical and continental shapes. No other book addresses as thoroughly the parallels between Wittgenstein and leading Continental philosophers such as Levinas, Husserl, and Heidegger.
We argue that theory-of-mind (ToM) approaches, such as “theory theory” and “simulation theory”, are both problematic and not needed. They account for neither our primary and pervasive way of engaging with others nor the true basis of our folk psychological understanding, even when narrowly construed. Developmental evidence shows that young infants are capable of grasping the purposeful intentions of others through the perception of bodily movements, gestures, facial expressions etc. Trevarthen’s notion of primary intersubjectivity can provide a theoretical framework (...) for understanding these capabilities and his notion of secondary intersubjectivity shows the importance of pragmatic contexts for infants starting around one year of age. The recent neuroscience of resonance systems (i.e., mirror neurons, shared representations) also supports this view. These ideas are worked out in the context of an embodied “Interaction Theory” of social cognition. Still, for more sophisticated intersubjective interactions in older children and adults, one might argue that some form of ToM is required. This thought is defused by appeal to narrative competency and the Narrative Practice Hypothesis (or NPH). We propose that repeated encounters with narratives of a distinctive kind is the normal route through which children acquire an understanding of the forms and norms that enable them to make sense of actions in terms of reasons. A potential objection to this hypothesis is that it presupposes ToM abilities. Interaction Theory is deployed once again to answer this by providing an alternative approach to understanding basic narrative competency and its development. (shrink)
This article presents two different phenomenological paths leading from ego to alter ego: a Husserlian and a Merleau-Pontian way of thinking. These two phenomenological paths serve to disentangle the conceptual–philosophical underpinning of the mirror neurons system hypothesis, in which both ways of thinking are entwined. A Merleau-Pontian re-reading of the mirror neurons system theory is proposed, in which the characteristics of mirror neurons are effectively used in the explanation of action understanding and imitation. This proposal uncovers the remaining necessary presupposition (...) of a minimalized version of the Husserlian concept of pairing and its recent and improved version in terms of the intermodal system. This leads to a layered approach to the constitution of intersubjectivity. (shrink)
Axel Honneth investigates an ambiguity in Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics. In Truth and Method, Gadamer lays out key forms of reciprocal recognition. By means of them, he can subject historical transmission to normative appraisal. Gadamer makes the recognitional interaction relative only to an 'I' and 'Thou', omitting reference to an objective 'Third'. Honneth claims that Gadamer posits this restriction based on the influence of Heidegger's Mitwelt concept. Honneth claims, however, that Gadamer's model fails to explain the possibility of a hermeneutic openness (...) to agents who are not in close personal proximity to us. Instead, Honneth argues that the concrete other in I/Thou relations must be supplemented by a standpoint where the concrete and generalized other continually and reciprocally correct one another. Key Words: concrete other Gadamer generalized other Heidegger hermeneutics intersubjectivity recognition. (shrink)
The embodied, embedded, enactive, and extended approaches to cognition explicate many important details for a phenomenology of perception, and are consistent with some of the traditional phenomenological analyses. Theorists working in these areas, however, often fail to provide an account of how intersubjectivity might relate to perception. This paper suggests some ways in which intersubjectivity is important for an adequate account of perception.
One of the problems confronting an interpretation of Husserl's late phenomenology is how to reconcile Husserl's increasing interest in the constitutive contribution of intersubjectivity with his introduction of the primordial reduction. How is it possible to characterize transcendental intersubjectivity as the foundation of truth and true being (Hua VIII 449, Hua IX 295, 344), and to claim simultanously that it is necessary to isolate the 'sphere of ownness' (that is, the primordial sphere encompassing everything which can be constituted (...) by the ego itself, without any contribution from another subjectivity (Hua I 124, Hua XVII 248)), so that one can gain a comprehension of the constituted Seinsgeltung of the Other (Hua XV 270-71)? In a sense, the answer is relatively straightforward. Husserl insists that the primordial reduction is undertaken for methodological reasons in order to elucidate the exact founded-founding relationship between subjective and intersubjective constitution. Thus, we are dealing with an attempt at a precise and appropriate introduction of the founded, but constituting transcendental intersubjectivity, and Husserl can consequently maintain that the thorough implementation of the transcendental reduction will ultimately lead us (if not sooner, then later) to a phenomenology of transcendental intersubjectivity (Hua I 69, Hua IX 245-246, Hua VIII 129, 176). The main problem with this answer is, however, that Husserl's strategy seems to remain vulnerable to a number of substantial objections. Let me, for the sake of simplicity, merely mention the two most fundamental ones. The first is general in nature and ultimately concerned with Husserl's theory of constitution. Thus, it might be asked whether Husserl's approach does not willy-nilly lead to a transcendental solipsism, insofar as it is impossible to preserve the equality and transcendence of the Other the moment one starts to regard it as founded and constituted.. (shrink)
Current theories of social cognition are mainly based on a representationalist view. Moreover, they focus on a rather sophisticated and limited aspect of understanding others, i.e. on how we predict and explain others’ behaviours through representing their mental states. Research into the ‘social brain’ has also favoured a third-person paradigm of social cognition as a passive observation of others’ behaviour, attributing it to an inferential, simulative or projective process in the individual brain. In this paper, we present a concept of (...) social understanding as an ongoing, dynamical process of participatory sense-making and mutual incorporation. This process may be described (1) from a dynamical agentive systems point of view as an interaction and coordination of two embodied agents ; (2) from a phenomenological approach as a mutual incorporation , i.e. a process in which the lived bodies of both participants extend and form a common intercorporality. Intersubjectivity, it is argued, is not a solitary task of deciphering or simulating the movements of others but means entering a process of embodied interaction and generating common meaning through it. This approach will be further illustrated by an analysis of primary dyadic interaction in early childhood. (shrink)
Sartre’s analysis of intersubjectivity in the third part of Being and Nothingness is guided by two main motives1. First of all, Sartre is simply expanding his ontological investigation of the essential structure of and relation between the for-itself (pour-soi) and the in-itself (en-soi). For as he points out, I need the Other in order fully to understand the structure of my own being, since the for-itself refers to the for-others (EN 267/303, 260/298); moreover, as he later adds, a treatment (...) of the relation to the in-itself must necessarily include an analysis of the Other precisely because this relation is played out in the presence of the Other (EN 410/472). Secondly, Sartre wants to supply a concrete solution to the problem of solipsism (EN 289/329, 296/337). This problem was already preoccupying him in The Transcendence of the Ego, but at that time, Sartre argued that solipsism could be avoided by means of a non-egological theory of consciousness, since such a theory—which sees the transcendental field of consciousness as non-personal and the I as a product of reflection (TE 36/52-53, 63/80- 81)—would no longer confer a privileged status to the I vis-à-vis the Other (TE 85/104). In Being and Nothingness, however, Sartre concedes that this renunciation of the transcendental I has in fact been of no help in overcoming solipsism (EN 280/318). The problem remains and has to be solved. As he is quick to add, however, a proper solution will not involve any proof of the existence of Others; rather, it will be a question of revealing the foundation of our “pre-ontological” certainty with regard to the existence of the Other (EN.. (shrink)
The intentions of others often enter into your practical reasoning, even when you’re acting on your own. Given all the agents around you, you’ll come to grief if what they’re up to is never a consideration in what you decide to do and how you do it. There are occasions, however, when the intentions of another (or others) figure in your practical reasoning in a particularly intimate and decisive fashion. I will speak of there being on such occasions a practical (...)intersubjectivity of intentions holding between you and the other individual(s). I will try to identify this practical intersubjectivity, and to take some preliminary steps toward giving a philosophical account of it. Occasions of practical intersubjectivity are usually those where individuals share agency, or do things jointly, such as when they walk together, kiss, or paint a house together. I will not assume that all instances of practical intersubjectivity are instances of shared agency. But the converse is true: any instance of shared agency involves a practical intersubjectivity holding between the participants. An account of shared agency (or related notions like shared activity, joint action, etc.) is inadequate if it fails to handle practical intersubjectivity. The paper is structured as follows. In section 1, I present an example to illustrate this idea of practical intersubjectivity, at least as it appears in the context of shared agency. Practical intersubjectivity is a normative phenomenon, and it is on this basis that in section 2 I distinguish it from the mere coordination of intentions some have recognized as essential for shared activity. The task of section 3 is to show how practical intersubjectivity cannot be adequately described in terms of ordinary intentions familiar from the study of individual agency. Such approaches fail to handle the rational dynamics of intention revision when practical.. (shrink)
Empathy is the phenomenal experience of mirroring ourselves into others. It can be explained in terms of simulations of actions, sensations, and emotions which constitute a shared manifold for intersubjectivity. Simulation, in turn, can be sustained at the subpersonal level by a series of neural mirror matching systems.
Introduction: This paper has two, interrelated aims. The first is to clarify Sartre's theory of intersubjectivity. Sartre's discussion of the Other has a puzzling way of going in and out of focus, seeming at one moment to provide a remarkably original solution to the problem of other minds and at the next to wholly miss the point of the skeptical challenge. The nature of his argument is equally uncertain: at some points it looks like an attempt to mount a (...) transcendental argument, a kind of Refutation of Idealism regarding the existence of others, at others, to be a defence of direct realism; yet again, it can seem to propose a dissolution of the problem closely analogous to Wittgenstein. I will argue (Section 1) that none of these provides quite the right model for understanding Sartre, which requires one to take seriously his method of resolving epistemological issues into matters of ontology. I argue further (Section 2) that Sartre's theory becomes fully coherent only if we make explicit its implicit presupposition of a conception of intersubjectivity articulated by Fichte. My second aim is to pursue the connection opened up of Sartre with German idealism. To the extent that commentators attempt to relate Sartre systematically to German idealism, it is almost always Hegel who provides the other term of comparison.1 What I try to show (Section 3) is that the usual comparison of Sartre with Hegel, which is largely negative, is distracting, and that Sartre's closer philosophical [End Page 325] relations are to Fichte and Schelling.2 This supplies, I argue, an important correction to the tendency of anglophone discussion of Sartre to isolate his claims from historical considerations, or to restrict Sartre's historical frame of reference to Hegel, Husserl and Heidegger: Sartre's philosophy, I suggest, is viewed fruitfully in the context of philosophical debates pursued in early German idealism. Sartre's ethics, I argue (Section 4), provide supporting evidence for this view. I propose tentatively in conclusion (Section 5) a corresponding view of existential phenomenology as a whole. (shrink)
As Husserl argues in the fifth Cartesian Meditation, the similarity of my Body (Leib) with the body (Körper) of another person is the founding moment of the experience of the other. This similarity is based on the previous objectivation of my Body. Husserl continuously worried to explicate this similarity-premise and by doing so, it appeared that this objectivation already presupposes intersubjectivity. By running into this problem, the Meditation actually fulfils its program by showing that the other is co-constitutive of (...) the world and more precisely of my existence as a worldly human being. At the same time he developed an alternative approach by identifying the original experience of the other as an expressive unity (Ausdruckseinheit) as the condition of possibility of intersubjective experience. By drawing on the relevant Forschungsmanuskripte in the volumes on Intersubjectivity and on Ideas II, it appears that the Meditation offers a naturalistic theory of intersubjectivity that results from the introduction of the reduction to primordiality. When one takes into account Husserl's analysis of the experience of an expressive unity, that is a defining characteristic of the personalistic attitude, one can clarify the derivative nature of this naturalistic approach. (shrink)
Transcendental philosophy has traditionally sought to provide non-contingent grounds for (a 'rational' account of) certain aspects of cognitive, moral, and social life. Further, it has made a claim to being 'ultimately' grounded in the sense that its account of experience should provide a non-dogmatic account of its own possibility. Most current approaches to transcendental philosophy seek to do justice to these twin aspects of the project by making an 'intersubjective turn', taking the structure of dialogue or social practice rather than (...) the 'I think' or consciousness as the locus of ultimate grounds. After examining the recent debate over transcendental arguments in order to illuminate the relations between two important versions of transcendental philosophy- the neo-Kantian version oriented toward justification of principles and the phenomenological version oriented toward clarification of meaning- this paper criticizes internally connected aspects of the intersubjective turn in K. O. Apel, Bernhard Waldenfels, and a recent 'practical' interpretation of Husserl. It is shown that the twin demands of the project can be redeemed only if ultimate grounding is seen first of all not as an epistemological or ontological question but (as Levinas suggests) as an ethical one. This requires modification of the appeal to intersubjectivity and a qualified return to the first-person perspective. (shrink)
In his paper on transcendental intersubjectivity in Husserl, which refers mainly to the Fifth Cartesian Meditation, Schutz (1966a) marks out four stages in Husserl's argument and finds what are for him insurmountable problems in each stage. These stages are: (1) isolation of the primordial world of one's peculiar ownness by means of a further epoche; (2) apperception of the other via pairing; (3) constitution of objective, intersubjective Nature; (4) constitution of higher forms of community. Because of the problems Schutz (...) encounters in each of these stages, he concludes that Husserl's theory is unacceptable (Schutz, 1966a, p.82). Having already proved that it is unacceptable, he now explains why these problems arise in Husserl's theory. Intersubjectivity, says Schutz, is "a datum of the life-world," (1966a, p.82) not a transcendental problem. In other words, intersubjectivity must be dealt with as a problem of the life-world of the natural attitude, not a "problem of constitution which can be solved within the transcendental sphere." (Schutz, 1966a, p.82). There is no such thing as transcendental intersubjectivity, if by that is meant intersubjectivity of a plurality of transcendental egos. The role of transcendental phenomenology in the problem of intersubjectivity is to explicate within the transcendental reduction the sense: "intersubjectivity in the life-world." Husserl was diverted from this proper role of phenomenology--in his words, to "explicate the sense which this world has for us prior to all philosophy" (trans. and quoted by Schutz from "Cartesianische Meditationen, para. 62, in fine," in Schutz, 1966a, p.82)--because of the unobtrusive transformation of sense of his concept of constitution from that of explication and clarification to "creation," in the sense of providing an ontology of the lifeworld. The fact that phenomenology is in principle incapable of doing this lies behind the failure of Husserl's theory of intersubjectivity (Schutz, 1966a, pp.83-84). Unlike Schutz, I will deal with this general issue explicitly in the context of the stages in Husserl's argument and Schutz's objections. It seems to me that Husserl does remain within the sphere of clarification of sense, but to do explication and clarification of certain "senses" results inevitably in doing a kind of ontology. (shrink)
In this article I seek to explain Hegel’s significance to contemporary meta-ethics, in particular to Kantian constructivism. I argue that in the master–slave dialectic in the Phenomenology of Spirit , Hegel shows that self-consciousness and intersubjectivity arise at the same time. This point, I argue, shows that there is no problem with taking other people’s reasons to motivate us since reflection on our aims is necessarily also reflection on the needs of those around us. I further explore Hegel’s contribution (...) to the debate about internal and external reasons. I end by arguing that we should understand reasons as historically constructed in the sense that who counts as an intrinsic bearer of value changes over time. I thus argue that the struggle for recognition is in fact the beginning of the long march toward the idea of recognition and the Kantian kingdom of ends. This march, however, is driven by the need to overcome injustice as it is instantiated at the beginning of history by the master’s absolute domination of the slave. (shrink)
This article argues that there is a marked ambivalence in Habermas concept of intersubjectivity in that he wavers between an interactionist and a discursive understanding. This ambivalence is demonstrated with reference to his recent critique of Robert Brandom's normative pragmatic theory of discursive practice. Although Habermas is a leading theorist of discourse as an epistemically steered process, he allows his interpretation of Brandom's theory as suffering from objective idealism to compel him to recoil from discourse and to defend a (...) purely interactionist or dialogical position. It is argued that the ambivalence in question is related to Habermas incomplete theorization of communication as a process of structure formation that unfolds sequentially through time on different levels. His architectonic of communicative intersubjectivity is marred by a missing concept. His characteristic concept of coordination is insufficient and must be complemented by a concept of synthesis at the discursive level. Key Words: Brandom communication coordination discursive synthesis Habermas Luhmann objectivism process sequentiality structure formation time. (shrink)
This paper explores some connections between the philosophically central topic of intersubjectivity highlighted in John Ziman's article and the notion of collective consciousness, which has received very little formal attention in mainstream philosophy. The deconstruction of the Cartesian model of isolated spheres of consciousness which the intersubjective viewpoint brings about is supported by considerations from Kant's critical account of transcendental psychology. The phenomenon of empathy, an essential component in the achievement of intersubjective consensus, is related to the possibility of (...) shared experiences, i.e. of two or more individuals participating in the same conscious experience. The use of mental concept-words applied to collectives of persons is interpreted as more than a mere metaphor; this interpretation is supported by comparison with complex collective behaviours in other social species. It is necessary to say that this paper very much represents work in progress-- other commitments have prevented the author from supporting many of the points made with references or further analysis at this stage, and it is hoped merely that this exploratory essay will provide useful ideas for further research. (shrink)
This paper argues the case for a renewed interest in Schutz's work by extending his theory of the conscious subject to the feminist concern with the issue of domination. We present a theoretical analysis of the subjective and intersubjective experiences of individuals relating to each other as dominant and subordinate; as our theoretical point of departure we use Schutz's concepts of the we-relation, the assumption of reciprocity of perspectives, typification, working, taken-for-grantedness, and relevance. Schutz's sociology of the conscious subject is (...) striking in its lack of any extended consideration of power, perhaps one reason why support for his work has diminished since the mid-1970s. Our overlayering of feminist sociological theory's interest in domination with Schutz's concerns about subjectivity and intersubjectivity produces an elaboration and a critique of Schutz and expands feminist understanding of relationships of domination. (shrink)
Identity politics deployed by lesbian feminists of color challenges the philosophy of the subject and white feminisms based on sisterhood, and in so doing opens a space where feminist coalition building is possible. I articulate connections between Gloria Anzaldúa's epistemological-political action tools of complex identity narration and mestiza form of intersubject, Nancy Hartsock's feminist materialist standpoint, and Seyla Benhabib's standpoint of intersubjectivity in relation to using feminist identity politics for feminist coalition politics.
Shadow of the Other is a discussion of how the individual has two sorts of relationships with an "other"--other individuals. The first regards the other as a s work apart is her brilliant utilization of a systematic dialectical approach to her subject, always maintaining the delicate balance between opposing tensions: masculinity and femininity, subjectivity and objectivity, passivity and activity, love and aggression, fantasy and reality, modernism and postmodernism, the intrapsychic and the intersubjective. Benjamin s work apart is her brilliant utilization (...) of a systematic dialectical approach to her subject, always maintaining the delicate balance between opposing other as a mental repository fo unwanted characteristics cast from the self. Jessica benjamin shows the implications of this dual relationship for male/female hierarchy and offers a possibility for balancing the two. This book continues the author's well-known explorations of the themes of intersubjectivity and gender, taking up issues at the forefront of contemporary debates in feminist theory and psychoanalysis. (shrink)
Intersubjectivity, the cooperation of two or more minds, is basic to human behavior, yet eludes the grasp of psychiatry. This paper traces the dilemma to the problem of other minds assumed with the epistemologies of modern science. It presents the solution of Wittgenstein's later philosophy, known for his treatment of other minds in terms of human agreement in language.Unlike recent studies of Wittgenstein's psychology, this one reviews the Philosophical Investigations' private language argument, the crux of his mature views on (...) mind. It reads that argument as recording his shift from the modern egocentric paradigm of mind to an intersubjective one. (shrink)
This article seeks to reconstruct the early writings of George Herbert Mead in order to explore the significance of his work for the development of an intersubjective conception of education. The reconstruction takes its point of departure in Mead's claim that reflective consciousness has a social situation as its precondition. In a mainly chronological account of Mead's writings on psychology and philosophy from the period 1900â1925, it is shown how Mead explains the social origin of conscious reflection and self-consciousness. It (...) is further shown, how Mead redefines the social in terms of meaningful, creative, radically undetermined, but not yet conscious, interaction. Mead's position thereby implies a reversal of the traditional way in which the relationship between subjectivity and intersubjectivity is conceived. The article ends with an outline of the main implications of this reversal for our understanding of education. (shrink)
This essay is concerned with defending Husserl against the criticism that he is insuffi ciently attentive to intersubjectivity. It has two moments; the fi rst articulates what I take to be a general version of the critique and then turns to a discussion of a version derived from Wittgenstein’s private language argument and the ensuing debate regarding this critique between Suzanne Cunningham and Peter Hutcheson. This discussion concludes by noting a general agreement betweenthe two participants that Husserl’s ego is (...) not directly involved in intersubjective relationships. I argue that as long as this is granted, the broader criticism cannot be answered. Whence, the second moment defends Husserl against this critique arguing that Husserl’s transcendental ego is an intersubjective one. (shrink)
In typical monotransitive verbs, such as "to touch," the patient is a passive recipient of action. In this paper, I discuss a special class of monotransitive verbs in which the patient is not, and cannot be, just a passive recipient of action. These verbs, such as "to educate," hinge on intersubjective experience. This intersubjectivity throws a wrench into classical descriptions of grammatical transitivity, transforming the recipient of action from a passive patient receiving the action into an active agent accepting (...) the action. As such, light is thrown on other "intertransitive" verbs and the experiences they describe, with special attention paid to education. (shrink)
In this paper, we argue that a rich phenomenological description of ?sweet tension? is an important step to understanding how and why sport is a meaningful human endeavour. We introduce the phenomenological concepts of intersubjectivity and horizon and elaborate how they inform the study and understanding of human experience. In the process, we establish that intersubjectivity is always embodied, developing and ethically committed. Likewise, we establish that our horizons are experienced from an embodied, developing and ethically committed perspective (...) that serves as the possibility for new intersubjective engagement. What follows is a discussion of the explanatory role of intersubjectivity and horizon in elucidating experiences of sweet tension in and through sport. The phenomenological account of sweet tension provides insights into the significance of our sporting experiences. Indeed, taking phenomenology seriously represents a commitment to descriptively elucidate what makes such experiences of sport significant and why we long for them. Recognising that sweet tension is a form of intersubjective horizon opens up new avenues for addressing ethical issues in sport as well as in crafting well-balanced games. (shrink)
This article addresses the question how educational theory can overcome the assumptions of the tradition of the philosophy of consciousness, a tradition which can be seen as the foundation of the modern project of education. While twentieth century philosophy has seen several attempts to make a shift from consciousness to intersubjectivity (Dewey, Wittgenstein, Habermas) it is argued that this shift still remains within the humanistic tradition of modern thought in that it still tries to define, still tries to develop (...) a theory about the human subject. Foucault's thesis of the end of man is interpreted as an attempt to move beyond humanism, an attempt motivated by a sincere concern for the humanity of the subject. Starting from the question as to who comes after the subject, several answers to this question, which all share an interest in the question as to where the subject comes into presence, are discussed (referring to the writings of Tschumi, Arendt and Levinas). In the concluding section it is argued that one way to move beyond the humanistic tradition of modern thought is to conceive of the subject in terms of responsibility and ethics (Levinas) and to conceive of the very task of theory in terms of justice, and not in terms of truth. This, so it is argued, should be the final concern for educational theory and curriculum theory. (shrink)
As the first part of this essay will show, Robert Brandom has developed an impressive epistemological position that explains the structures of discourse in terms of an inferential semantics and a normative pragmatics, and that implies a version of epistemic intersubjectivity centered around the figure of the scorekeeper. The second part of this paper will show via a consideration of the Brandom/McDowell debate on perception how this version of intersubjectivity emphasizes a theoretical-critical, externalist stance toward the other whose (...) claims are being assessed, though Brandom includes to a degree the first-person perspective of the scorekeeper and the assessed other. Section three will show how Emmanuel Levinas proposes an alternative view of intersubjectivity, ethical intersubjectivity, which engages us at a bodily level, beneath theorizing, and which involves a fusion of a robust first-person perspective with inescapable intersubjectivity (the otherin the same). In this relationship, the I approaches the other in trust, through a nonknowing (but still known) attitude, and experiences a different kind of decentration from that typical of a project aimed at overcoming epistemic inertia. A final section will point out how one can find traces of ethical intersubjectivity within Brandom’s epistemic intersubjectivity and how an ethically directed epistemic intersubjectivity can best achieve its epistemic goals. (shrink)
We outline a theory of human agency and communication and discuss the role that the capability to share (that is, intersubjectivity) plays in it. All the notions discussed are cast in a mentalistic and radically constructivist framework. We also introduce and discuss the relevant literature.
The struggles that Alfred Schutz, Aron Gurwitsch, Harold Garfinkel, and other social phenomenologists and ethnomethodologists have had with Edmund Husserl’s progenitive but inconsistent notion of intersubjectivity are summarized and assessed. In particular, an account of Schutz’s objections to intersubjective constitution is presented. The commonly pervading elements and major differences within this lineage of inquiry – a four generation-long lineage of teacher and student that commences with Husserl, runs through Schutz and Gurwitsch, then Garfinkel, and then the present author and (...) his colleagues – are discussed, under the advisory (as suggested by Maurice Natanson) that what Husserl sought was more important than what he found. (shrink)
Dear John, You would have agreed with me that by writing to you I am putting into practice what your essay is all about: an act of cognitive intersubjectivity. It aims at reaching a common understanding or even a shared interpretation that is sufficiently wide to include whatever differences may remain between us. At the same time, I am aware, and painfully so, that this intersubjectivity has become asymmetrical, for you will not be able to respond this time. (...) The symmetry has been broken (and you know better than I what this means in physics). And yet, cognitive intersubjectivity enables me to render you fully present in my imagination. Therefore, by writing to you as I have done in the past, I wish to render homage to you as a friend and colleague. But it is also a tribute to your endless curiosity, your firm belief in the power of ideas and to your wisdom. For you have chosen intersubjectivity as one of your last intellectual puzzles to solve. May the bonds of intersubjectivity live on for generations to come. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the competing and complimentary relationships between intersubjectivity and discursive logic. It contends that the ultimate failure of Husserlian phenomenology is a testament to the dilemma of subjectivist philosophy. Indeed, political philosophy requires a paradigm-shift from subjectivity to intersubjectivity. With this in mind, this paper examines the classical encounter between morality and ethical life in connection with discursive ethics. While it argues that Habermas still retains a strong residue of subjectivist philosophy, it attempts to (...) clarify the discursive analysis of Foucault and probes into its applicability to practical philosophy. (shrink)
In this essay I show that Structuralism, in order to combat the impression that it is “untenable and outmoded,” needs to be attached to a phenomenology of transcendental intersubjectivity. My argument for this conclusion is: 1) that Peter Caws is right in arguing that Structuralism needs a notion of the transcendental subject because its objects, qua intentional, presuppose such a subject; 2) the objects withwhich Structuralism is concemed are objects in the sense that Husserl speaks of objects ofthe spiritual (...) world; and, 3) the spiritual world, indeed the world in general, is constituted intersubjectively. Therefore, Structuralism needs a notion of transcendental intersubjectivity.Dans cet essai, je démontre que le structuralisme doit être rattaché à une phénoménologie de l’intersubjectivité transcendantale afin d’éviter l’impression qu’il donne d’être «intenable et démodé». J’appuie cette conclusion à l’aide des arguments suivants: 1) Peter Caws a raison d’arguer que le structuralisme a besoin d’une notion de sujet transcendantal parce que ses objets, en tant qu’intentionnels, présupposent un tel sujet; 2) les objets dont s’occupe le structuralisme sont des objets au sens oú Husserl parle d’objets du monde spirituel; et 3) le monde spirituel, enfait le monde en général, est constitué de façon intersubjective. Ainsi, le structuralisme requiert une notion d’intersubjectivité transcendantale. (shrink)
In what sense, if any, does the dominant conception of the traditional theistic God as disembodied inform our embodied experiences? Feminist philosophers of religion have been either explicitly or implicitly preoccupied by a philosophical failure to address such questions concerning embodiment and its relationship to the divine. To redress this failure, certain feminist philosophers have sought to appropriate Luce Irigaray’s argument that embodied divinity depends upon women themselves becoming divine. This article assesses weaknesses in the Irigarayan position, notably the problematic (...) move from a woman’s subjectivity to divinity. In the light of these weaknesses the author looks for a better alternative. Drawing on the work of feminist and nonfeminist philosophers, a feminist-friendly conception of theism is sketched in terms of incarnation and intersubjectivity. Philosophical accounts of the ethical formation of gendered subjects by way of bodily practices offer new concepts for con. (shrink)
Michelman's emphasis upon intersubjectivity is commendable; but a cognitive approach is required to generate rights. Michelman has raised a significant point against Shearmur's earlier paper: does it offer a rationale for according rights to every individual with whom our relationship may be remote? Michelman's suggestion that oppression might itself be a source of illumination should be declined, however, so it is tentatively suggested? with reference to Popper's ?world 3"? that we may value such people as cultural objects: as bearers (...) and creators of culture. (shrink)
In this path breaking volume, leading researchers from psychology, linguistics, philosophy and primatology offer complementary perspectives on the role of intersubjectivity in the context of human development, comparative cognition and ...
Abstract: In response to Arroyo, I explain my position on the concept of “natural goodness” and how my use of that concept compares to that of Geach and Foot. An Aristotelian or functional notion of goodness provides the material for Kantian endorsement in a theory of value that avoids a metaphysical commitment to intrinsic values. In response to Cummiskey, I review reasons for thinking Kantianism and consequentialism incompatible, especially those objections to aggregation that arise from the notion of the natural (...) good previously described. In response to Moland, I explain why I think Hegelian worries about the supposed emptiness of the Kantian self do not apply to my account. And in response to both Moland and Bird-Pollan, I argue that, contrary to the view of some Hegelians, the intersubjective normativity of reason is not something developed through actual social relations; rather, it is something essential to an individual's relations with himself or herself. (shrink)
Within the debate on the epistemology of aesthetic appreciation, it has a long tradition, and is still very common, to endorse the sentimentalist view that our aesthetic evaluations are rationally grounded on, or even constituted by, certain of our emotional responses to the objects concerned. Such a view faces, however, the serious challenge to satisfactorily deal with the seeming possibility of faultless disagreement among emotionally based and epistemically appropriate verdicts. I will argue that the sentimentalist approach to aesthetic epistemology cannot (...) accept and accommodate this possibility without thereby undermining the assumed capacity of emotions to justify corresponding aesthetic evaluations â€“ that is, without undermining the very sentimentalist idea at the core of its account. And I will also try to show that sentimentalists can hope to deny the possibility of faultless disagreement only by giving up the further view that aesthetic assessments are intersubjective â€“ a view which is almost as traditional and widely held in aesthetics as sentimentalism, and which is indeed often enough combined with the latter. My ultimate conclusion is therefore that this popular combination of views should better be avoided: either sentimentalism or intersubjectivism has to make way. (shrink)
In this paper, I am going to be concerned with the capacity of human beings to act jointly. In particular, I will focus on the phenomenal aspect of collective action. I shall suggest that the experience of being jointly engaged with another is complex: it comprises both a practical grasp of oneself and of the other person as single agents participating in the joint pursuit, and an experience of collective immersion in the activity, which includes a sense of joint control. (...) This suggestion gives rise to a number of puzzles: firstly, what is the relation between jointly engaged agents' awareness of self and other and their sense of a joint engagement? Secondly, how are we to substantiate the idea of a sense of joint control if it is also obviously true that I don't, however close our psychological and bodily attunements, have control over your doings? I shall argue that a satisfactory solution to these puzzles is possible only if we take seriously the notion of a perceptually constituted “intersubjective perspective” that is shared by the participants in joint activities and gives rise to an attitude of mutual trust. (shrink)
The Kantian philosophy, for many, largely represents the Modern West’s anthropocentric dominance of nature in its instrumental-rationalist orientation. Recently, some scholars have argued that Kant’s aesthetics offers significant resources for environmental ethics, while others believe that Kant’s flawed dualistic views in the second Critique severely undermine any environmental promise that aesthetic judgments may hold in Kant’s third Critique . This article first examines the meanings of nature in Kant’s three Critique s. It concludes that Kant’s aesthetic view toward sensible nature (...) is indeed inconsistent. The article, however, also suggests that the “I” as “transcendental apperception” discussed in the paralogisms of the first Critique holds some promise of “interthing intersubjective” thinking. The second half of the article demonstrates that Daoism with a dialectic concern similar to Kant’s has something insightful to offer in its idea of interthingness based on a phenomenal account of nature. The article investigates important Daoist ideas of interthing analogical experience, qi , spiritual exercise, and wuwei in its dialect relation to zizan . By bringing Daoism and Kant into dialogue, the author hopes to bring forth a synthetic approach that is better suited to today’s environmental concerns. (shrink)
Brandom's inferentialism provides a semantics that complements Habermas's theory of communicative action without sacrificing its intersubjectivist insights. Pace Habermas, Brandom's conception of communication is robustly intersubjective. At the pragmatic level, interlocutors inherit each other's commitments and entitlements and must justify their claims when challenged; at the semantic level, anaphora show how the web of meaning is knit together, connecting expressions of the language as well as interlocutors. Finally, Habermas's thesis that there are three irreducible types of validity claim is preserved (...) by linking claims to truth and rightness with mutually irreducible patterns of inference. (shrink)
This is the long-awaited third volume of philosophical writings by Davidson, whose influence on philosophy since the 1960s has been deep and broad. His first two collections, published by Oxford in the early 1980s, are recognized as contemporary classics. His ideas have continued to flow; now, in this new work, he presents a selection of his best work on knowledge, mind, and language from the last two decades. It is a rich and rewarding feast for anyone interested in philosophy, and (...) essential reading for anyone working on these topics. (shrink)
The paper first introduces the concept of implicit and explicit temporality, referring to time as pre-reflectively lived vs. consciously experienced. Implicit time is based on the constitutive synthesis of inner time consciousness on the one hand, and on the conative–affective dynamics of life on the other hand. Explicit time results from an interruption or negation of implicit time and unfolds itself in the dimensions of present, past and future. It is further shown that temporality, embodiment and intersubjectivity are closely (...) connected: While implicit temporality is characterised by tacit bodily functioning and by synchronisation with others, explicit temporality arises with states of desynchronisation, that is, of a retardation or acceleration of inner time in relation to external or social processes. These states often bring the body to awareness as an obstacle as well. On this basis, schizophrenia and melancholic depression are investigated as paradigm cases for a psychopathology of temporality. Major symptoms of schizophrenia such as thought disorder, thought insertion, hallucinations or passivity experiences may be regarded as manifesting a disturbance of the constitutive synthesis of time consciousness, closely connected with a weakening of the underlying pre-reflective self-awareness or ipseity. This results in a fragmentation of the intentional arc, a loss of self-coherence and the appearance of major self-disturbances. Depression, on the other hand, is mostly triggered by a desynchronisation from the social environment and further develops into an inhibition of the conative–affective dynamics of life. As will be shown, both mental illnesses bear witness of the close connection of temporality, embodiment and intersubjectivity. (shrink)
By what types of properties do we specify twinges, toothaches, and other kinds of mental states? Wittgenstein considers two methods. Procedure one, direct, private acquaintance: A person connects a word to the sensation it specifies through noticing what that sensation is like in his own experience. Procedure two, outward signs: A person pins his use of a word to outward, pre-verbal signs of the sensation. I identify and explain a third procedure and show we in fact specify many kinds of (...) mental states in this way. (shrink)
This paper considers the importance of the body for self-esteem, communication, and emotional expression and experience, through the reflections of those who live with various neurological impairments of movement and sensation; sensory deafferentation, spinal cord injury and Möbius Syndrome (the congenital absence of facial expression). People with severe sensory loss, who require conscious attention and visual feedback for movement, describe the imperative to use the same strategies to reacquire gesture, to appear normal and have embodied expression. Those paralysed after spinal (...) cord injury struggle to have others see them as people rather than as people in wheelchairs and have been active in the disability movement, distinguishing between their medical impairment and the social induced disability others project onto them. Lastly those with Möbius reveal the importance of the face for emotional expression and communication and indeed for emotional experience itself. All these examples explore the crucial role of the body as agent for social and personal expression and self-esteem. (shrink)
Measurement is a process aimed at acquiring and codifying information about properties of empirical entities. In this paper we provide an interpretation of such a process comparing it with what is nowadays considered the standard measurement theory, i.e., representational theory of measurement. It is maintained here that this theory has its own merits but it is incomplete and too abstract, its main weakness being the scant attention reserved to the empirical side of measurement, i.e., to measurement systems and to the (...) ways in which the interactions of such systems with the entities under measurement provide a structure to an empirical domain. In particular it is claimed that (1) it is on the ground of the interaction with a measurement system that a partition can be induced on the domain of entities under measurement and that relations among such entities can be established, and that (2) it is the usage of measurement systems that guarantees a degree of objectivity and intersubjectivity to measurement results. As modeled in this paper, measurement systems link the abstract theory of measuring, as developed in representational terms, and the practice of measuring, as coded in standard documents such as the International Vocabulary of Metrology. (shrink)
The philosophical relationship that obtains between the work of Merleau-Ponty and Derrida has continued to intrigue and preoccupy many of us despite, or perhaps even partly because of, the fact that Derrida did not accord the work of Merleau-Ponty much attention during his remarkably prolific career. Two relatively recent books of Derrida’s have addressed this gap: Memoirs of the Blind and, more recently, On Touching. However, although Derrida proposes an “entire re-reading” of the later Merleau-Ponty in Memoirs of the Blind, (...) with the clear implication that there are hitherto unaccessed and invaluable resources to be mined in this body of work, I will suggest that the actual reading of Merleau-Ponty propounded in On Touching falls well short of this ambition. While this chapter will raise some critical questions about the interpretation that Derrida offers of Merleau-Ponty in ‘Exemplary Stories of the Flesh: Tangent 3’, including the implication that his work on the senses and intersubjectivity remains mired in theological prejudices, it will also be concerned to examine the transcendental philosophy of time (or philosophy of the contretemps that breaks open time but nonetheless pertains to it) that undergirds and motivates Derrida’s engagement with the philosophies of touch. In this latter respect, I will argue that Derrida’s philosophy is itself ‘touched’ by time, in the peculiar sense of ‘touched’ that connotes affected and wounded. On my reading, his work instantiates an ethics of non-presentist time, an ethics of that time which is the transcendental condition of the present and any event of touch. I ask whether this prevarication on the issue of the transcendental and the ethical is reason to look for a different understanding of both time and the transcendental to Derrida’s, and I end this chapter by once more proposing a dialectic between the disjunctive and conjunctive aspects of time that does not accord any kind of a priori privilege to the one over the other. (shrink)
Consciousness is typically construed as being explainable purely in terms of either private, raw feels or higher-order, reflective representations. In contrast to this false dichotomy, we propose a new view of consciousness as an interactive, plastic phenomenon open to sociocultural influence. We take up our account of consciousness from the observation of radical cortical neuroplasticity in human development. Accordingly, we draw upon recent research on macroscopic neural networks, including the “default mode”, to illustrate cases in which an individual’s particular “connectome” (...) is shaped by encultured social practices that depend upon and influence phenomenal and reflective consciousness. On our account, the dynamically interacting connectivity of these networks bring about important individual differences in conscious experience and determine what is “present” in consciousness. Further, we argue that the organization of the brain into discrete anti-correlated networks supports the phenomenological distinction of prereflective and reflective consciousness, but we emphasize that this finding must be interpreted in light of the dynamic, category-resistant nature of consciousness. Our account motivates philosophical and empirical hypotheses regarding the appropriate time-scale and function of neuroplastic adaptation, the relation of high and low frequency neural activity to consciousness and cognitive plasticity, and the role of ritual social practices in neural development and cognitive function. (shrink)
In The Paradox of Self-Consciousness, Jose Luis Bermúdez presents an abductive argument for what he calls ‘the Symmetry Thesis’ about self-ascription: in order to have the ability to self-ascribe psychological predicates to oneself, one must be able to ascribe psychological predicates to other subjects like oneself. Bermúdez discusses joint engagement as a key phenomenon that underwrites his abductive argument for the Symmetry Thesis. He argues that the ability to self-ascribe is “constituted” by the intersubjective relations that are realized in joint (...) engagement. I will argue in §1 that although Bermúdez may be correct that these phenomena support the idea that pre-linguistic infants and non-linguistic animals possess primitive forms of self-consciousness, for conceptual reasons, his account of joint engagement cannot be used to argue for the Symmetry thesis. I will argue in §2 that while Bermúdez is correct that joint engagement is significant for the constitution of self-ascription, his description of that phenomenon is too robust, because it requires that the infant have a mental representation of the other as a psychological subject of perceptions. I argue that Bermúdez’s description requires an iteration of representations each of which requires a form of self-reference, which goes against Bermudez’s aim of avoiding the paradox of self-consciousness. In presenting his argument for the Symmetry thesis and his account of joint engagement, Bermúdez critiques P. F. Strawson’s argument for the Symmetry Thesis. In §3 of the paper, I turn to the positive project of presenting a constructive argument for the Symmetry thesis. In a variety of sources, P. F. Strawson and Gareth Evans present a transcendental argument for the Symmetry thesis. I suggest that an argument for the Symmetry thesis is available in Strawson’s notion of the primitiveness of the person. In §4, this leads to a corresponding account of joint engagement. Instead of the robust account of joint engagement presented by Bermúdez, I suggest that the infant perceives the mother’s acknowledgement of the infant without the capacity for self-reference that the Bermúdez’s iteration requires. I reconstruct an account of other-ascription in terms of what I call “person perception,” relying on a recent discussion of Strawson’s view by Axel Seemann (2008). On the Strawsonian account that I provide, an adult summons a child to recognize and acknowledge a form of life in which it participates as a person. In closing, I consider how my account of other-ascription differs from two classic accounts— the theory-theory and the simulation theory— and discuss how my account provides a genuine third alternative: the Persons theory. I would argue that the Persons theory offers a new approach to key issues in philosophy and psychology concerning self-consciousness and intersubjectivity. (shrink)
Heidegger’s representation of Dasein’s death relation in Division Two of Being and Time remains a singularly prominent reflection on death in the canon of twentieth century continental philosophy. At the same time, though, it is a representation whose limitations have been established by commitments made in Division One, specifically in Heideggers’s account of being-with. My interests in this paper are in the intimate relation between intersubectivity and death, and I engage in a comparative phenomenology in order to free things up. (...) More specifically, I provide a critique of certain key aspects of Heidegger’s account of Dasein, and then I contrast this with the radically different way that the Iroquois practice and experience the connection between intersubjecivity and death. The Iroquois tribe establish their connection between themselves through formal condolences rituals. As I articulate in the paper, for the Iroquois, the relationship to the dead is the source of my relations with those who are living. Dead people are not just an anonymous “they,” and the words said about them are not just idle chatter, but the source of responsibility to continue the community. (shrink)
There is an underlying idea of symmetry involved in most notions of rationality. From a dialogical philosophical standpoint, however, the symmetry implied by social contract theories and so-called Golden Rule thinking is anchored to a Cartesian subjectobject world and is therefore not equipped to address recognition at least not if recognition is to be understood as something happening between subjects. For this purpose, the dialogical symmetry implied by Habermas' communicative action does a much better job. Still, it is insufficient (...) to embrace those kinds of recognition that are dependent on asymmetry and concrete difference. This article explores how communicative action could meet the demand of recognition by investigating a complementary source of validity in communicative rationality, apart from Habermas' validity claims, in which inter is better characterized as mutuality than as symmetry. By recognizing both sources of validity, communicative action can open the door more fully to all aspects of recognition without giving up its universal pragmatic core. Key Words: communicative action communicative rationality discourse ethics Jürgen Habermas Axel Honneth recognition universal pragmatics. (shrink)