Is an individual agent constitutive of or constituted by its social interactions? This question is typically not asked in the cognitive sciences, so strong is the consensus that only individual agents have constitutive efficacy. In this article we challenge this methodological solipsism and argue that interindividual relations and social context do not simply arise from the behavior of individual agents, but themselves enable and shape the individual agents on which they depend. For this, we define the notion of (...) autonomy as both a characteristic of individual agents and of socialinteraction processes. We then propose a number of ways in which interactional autonomy can influence individuals. Then we discuss recent work in modeling on the one hand and psychological investigations on the other that support and illustrate this claim. Finally, we discuss some implications for research on social and individual agency. (shrink)
Researchers in the enactivist tradition have recently argued that socialinteraction can constitute social cognition, rather than simply serve as the context for social cognition. They contend that a focus on socialinteraction corrects the overemphasis on mechanisms inside the individual in the explanation of social cognition. I critically assess enactivism’s claims about the explanatory role of socialinteraction in social cognition. After sketching the enactivist approach to cognition in general (...) and social cognition in particular, I identify problems with an enactivist taxonomy of roles for socialinteraction in the explanation of social cognition (contextual, enabling, and constitutive). In particular, I show that this enactivist taxonomy does not clearly distinguish between enabling conditions and constitutive elements, which would make them in danger of committing the coupling-constitution fallacy found in some attempts to extend cognition. I explore resources enactivism has to more clearly demarcate constitutive parts of a cognitive system, but identify problems in applying them to some of the main cases of social cognition enactivists characterize as being constituted by socialinteraction. I offer the mechanistic approach to explanation as an alternative that captures much of what enactivists want to say about the relations between social and individual levels, but views social interactions from the perspective of embedded cognition rather than as being constitutive of social cognition. (shrink)
Social participation requires certain abilities: communication with other members of society; social understanding which enables planning ahead and dealing with novel circumstances; and a theory of mind which makes it possible to anticipate the mental state of another. In childhood play we learn how to pretend, how to put ourselves in the minds of others, how to imagine what others are thinking and how to attribute false beliefs to them. Without this ability we would be unable to deceive (...) and detect deception in the actions of others, and our ability to interact within our social group would be greatly impaired. In this paper I claim that the capacity for deception is necessary for a theory of mind, and a theory of mind is necessary for complex socialinteraction. (shrink)
An important shift is taking place in social cognition research, away from a focus on the individual mind and toward embodied and participatory aspects of social understanding. Empirical results already imply that social cognition is not reducible to the workings of individual cognitive mechanisms. To galvanize this interactive turn, we provide an operational definition of socialinteraction and distinguish the different explanatory roles – contextual, enabling and constitutive – it can play in social cognition. (...) We show that interactive processes are more than a context for social cognition: they can complement and even replace individual mechanisms. This new explanatory power of socialinteraction can push the field forward by expanding the possibilities of scientific explanation beyond the individual. (shrink)
This paper comments on Gallagher’s recently published direct perception proposal about social cognition [Gallagher, S. (2008a). Direct perception in the intersubjective context. Consciousness and Cognition, 17(2), 535–543]. I show that direct perception is in danger of being appropriated by the very cognitivist accounts criticised by Gallagher (theory theory and simulation theory). Then I argue that the experiential directness of perception in social situations can be understood only in the context of the role of the interaction process in (...)social cognition. I elaborate on the role of socialinteraction with a discussion of participatory sense-making to show that direct perception, rather than being a perception enriched by mainly individual capacities, can be best understood as an interactional phenomenon. (shrink)
We argue that progress in our scientific understanding of the `social mind' is hampered by a number of unfounded assumptions. We single out the widely shared assumption that social behavior depends solely on the capacities of an individual agent. In contrast, both developmental and phenomenological studies suggest that the personal-level capacity for detached `social cognition' (conceived as a process of theorizing about and/or simulating another mind) is a secondary achievement that is dependent on more immediate processes of (...) embodied socialinteraction. We draw on the enactive approach to cognitive science to further clarify this strong notion of `socialinteraction' in theoretical terms. In addition, we indicate how this interaction theory (IT) could eventually be formalized with the help of a dynamical systems perspective on the interaction process, especially by making use of evolutionary robotics modeling. We conclude that bringing together the methods and insights of developmental, phenomenological, enactive and dynamical approaches to socialinteraction can provide a promising framework for future research. Keywords: theory of mind; cognitive science; phenomenology; embodied cognition; dynamical systems theory; enactive approach; social cognition; interaction theory; evolutionary robotics. (shrink)
The study of animal behavior, and particularly avian behavior, has advanced significantly in the past 50 years. In the early 1960s, both ethologists and psychologists were likely to see birds as simple automatons, incapable of complex cognitive processing. Indeed, the term “avian cognition“ was considered an oxymoron. Avian socialinteraction was also seen as based on rigid, if sometimes complicated, patterns. The possible effect of socialinteraction on cognition, or vice versa, was therefore something almost never (...) discussed. Two paradigm shifts—one concerning animal cognition and one concerning socialinteraction—began to change perceptions in, respectively, the early 1970s and 1980s, but only more recently have researchers actively investigated how these two areas intersect in the study of avian behavior. The fruits of such intersection can be seen in the various papers for this special issue. I provide some brief background material before addressing the striking findings of current projects. In some cases, researchers have adapted early classic methods and in other cases have devised new paradigms, but in all instances have demonstrated avian capacities that were once thought to be the exclusive domain of humans or at least nonhuman primates. Keywords: avian cognition; avian social learning; avian observational learning; avian communication. (shrink)
The extended mind thesis (EM) asserts that some cognitive processes are (partially) composed of actions consisting of the manipulation and exploitation of environmental structures. Might some processes at the root of social cognition have a similarly extended structure? In this paper, I argue that social cognition is fundamentally an interactive form of space management—the negotiation and management of ‘‘we-space”—and that some of the expressive actions involved in the negotiation and management of we-space (gesture, touch, facial and whole-body expressions) (...) drive basic processes of interpersonal understanding and thus do genuine social-cognitive work. Socialinteraction is a kind of extended social cognition, driven and at least partially constituted by environmental (non-neural) scaffolding. Challenging the Theory of Mind paradigm, I draw upon research from gesture studies, developmental psychology, and work on Moebius Syndrome to support this thesis. (shrink)
Theories of children's developing understanding of mind tend to emphasize either individualistic processes of theory formation, maturation, or introspection, or the process of enculturation. However, such theories must be able to account for the accumulating evidence of the role of socialinteraction in the development of social understanding. We propose an alternative account, according to which the development of children's social understanding occurs within triadic interaction involving the child's experience of the world as well as (...) communicative interaction with others about their experience and beliefs (Chapman 1991; 1999). It is through such triadic interaction that children gradually construct knowledge of the world as well as knowledge of other people. We contend that the extent and nature of the socialinteraction children experience will influence the development of children's social understanding. Increased opportunity to engage in cooperative socialinteraction and exposure to talk about mental states should facilitate the development of social understanding. We review evidence suggesting that children's understanding of mind develops gradually in the context of socialinteraction. Therefore, we need a theory of development in this area that accords a fundamental role to socialinteraction, yet does not assume that children simply adopt socially available knowledge but rather that children construct an understanding of mind within socialinteraction. Key Words: language; Piaget; socialinteraction; theories of mind; Vygotsky; Wittgenstein. (shrink)
There is a growing realization in cognitive science that a theory of embodied intersubjectivity is needed to better account for social cognition. We highlight some challenges that must be addressed by attempts to interpret ‘simulation theory’ in terms of embodiment, and argue for an alternative approach that integrates phenomenology and dynamical systems theory in a mutually informing manner. Instead of ‘simulation’ we put forward the concept of the ‘extended body’, an enactive and phenomenological notion that emphasizes the socially mediated (...) nature of embodiment. To illustrate the explanatory potential of this approach, we replicate an agent-based model of embodied socialinteraction. An analysis of the model demonstrates that the extended body can be explained in terms of mutual dynamical entanglement: inter-bodily resonance between individuals can give rise to self-sustaining interaction patterns that go beyond the behavioral capacities of isolated individuals by modulating their intra-bodily conditions of behavior generation. (shrink)
Research on brain or cognitive/affective processes, culture, socialinteraction, and structural analysis are overlapping but often independent ways humans have attempted to understand the origins of their evolution, historical, and contemporary development. Each level seeks to employ its own theoretical concepts and methods for depicting human nature and categorizing objects and events in the world, and often relies on different sources of evidence to support theoretical claims. Each level makes reference to different temporal bandwidths (milliseconds, seconds, minutes, hours, (...) days, months, years, decades, and centuries) and focuses on different spatio-temporal activities and controlled and non-controlled stimulus conditions. Biological mechanisms and environmental pressures for survival simultaneously created a gradual intersection and enhancement of cognitive/affective skills, cultural practices, and changes in collaborative socialinteraction and communicative skills. The evolution of a given level of analysis is assumed to have been incremental and overlapping. These innovative and independent ways humans have learned to characterize their brain or cognitive/affective and social/economic/political life often depend on unexamined, representational re-descriptions or cognitive/affective and socio-cultural devices and forms of communication that facilitate the depiction of practices and beliefs we attribute to respondents or subjects and research colleagues. (shrink)
Critical thinking is often assumed to be an integral part of learning in higher education. This learning increasingly takes place in the online environment, where students and faculty are challenged to engage in a collaborative project of critical thinking. This paper seeks to explore the process of critical thinking that is currently taking place online and proposes that socialinteraction and the social construction of knowledge are integral parts of this process. Discussion boards from economics, history, and (...) sociology are discussed as examples of how critical thinking is developed in the online environment. (shrink)
The understanding of emergent, self-organizing phenomena has been immensely deepened in recent years on the basis of simulation-based theoretical research. We discuss these new ideas, and illustrate them using examples from several fields. Our discussion serves to introduce equivalent self-organized phenomena in socialinteraction. Interaction systems appear to be structured partly by virtue of such emergents. These appear under specific conditions: When cognitive buffering is inadequate relative to the levels of stress persons are subjected to, anxiety-spreading has (...) the potential of pushing their interaction into nonlinear conditions. Arousal in these conditions produces effects on behavior arising from biological sources-indeed, behavior can come under the control of reflex patterns. When this occurs, psychological activity no longer screens off biological controls over behavior. As the direct effects of biological activity spill into interaction, attachment behavior introduced into an interaction system can produce effects that are transmitted beyond dyads to produce global social patterns. These effects illustrate how strong interactions based in biological activity can produce an architecture for social systems. (shrink)
Rational choice theory enjoys unprecedented popularity and influence in the behavioral and social sciences, but it generates intractable problems when applied to socially interactive decisions. In individual decisions, instrumental rationality is defined in terms of expected utility maximization. This becomes problematic in interactive decisions, when individuals have only partial control over the outcomes, because expected utility maximization is undefined in the absence of assumptions about how the other participants will behave. Game theory therefore incorporates not only rationality but also (...) common knowledge assumptions, enabling players to anticipate their co-players' strategies. Under these assumptions, disparate anomalies emerge. Instrumental rationality, conventionally interpreted, fails to explain intuitively obvious features of human interaction, yields predictions starkly at variance with experimental findings, and breaks down completely in certain cases. In particular, focal point selection in pure coordination games is inexplicable, though it is easily achieved in practice; the intuitively compelling payoff-dominance principle lacks rational justification; rationality in social dilemmas is self-defeating; a key solution concept for cooperative coalition games is frequently inapplicable; and rational choice in certain sequential games generates contradictions. In experiments, human players behave more cooperatively and receive higher payoffs than strict rationality would permit. Orthodox conceptions of rationality are evidently internally deficient and inadequate for explaining human interaction. Psychological game theory, based on nonstandard assumptions, is required to solve these problems, and some suggestions along these lines have already been put forward. Key Words: backward induction; Centipede game; common knowledge; cooperation; epistemic reasoning; game theory; payoff dominance; pure coordination game; rational choice theory; social dilemma. (shrink)
The human ability to represent, conceptualize, and reason about mind and behavior is one of the greatest achievements of human evolution and is made possible by a “folk theory of mind” — a sophisticated conceptual framework that relates different mental states to each other and connects them to behavior. This chapter examines the nature and elements of this framework and its central functions for social cognition. As a conceptual framework, the folk theory of mind operates prior to any particular (...) conscious or unconscious cognition and provides the “framing” or interpretation of that cognition. Central to this framing is the concept of intentionality, which distinguishes intentional action (caused by the agent’s intention and decision) from unintentional behavior (caused by internal or external events without the intervention of the agent’s decision). A second important distinction separates publicly observable from publicly unobservable (i.e., mental) events. Together, the two distinctions define the kinds of events in socialinteraction that people attend to, wonder about, and try to explain. A special focus of this chapter is the powerful tool of behavior explanation, which relies on the folk theory of mind but is also intimately tied to social demands and to the perceiver’s social goals. A full understanding of social cognition must consider the folk theory of mind as the conceptual underpinning of all (conscious and unconscious) perception and thinking about the social world. (shrink)
Based on an integrated theoretical framework, this study analyzes user acceptance behavior toward socially interactive robots focusing on the variables that influence the users' attitudes and intentions to adopt robots. Individuals' responses to questions about attitude and intention to use robots were collected and analyzed according to different factors modified from a variety of theories. The results of the proposed model explain that social presence is key to the behavioral intention to accept social robots. The proposed model shows (...) the significant roles of perceived adaptivity and sociability, both of which affect attitude as well as influence perceived usefulness and perceived enjoyment, respectively. These factors can be key features of users' expectations of social robots, which can give practical implications for designing and developing meaningful socialinteraction between robots and humans. The new set of variables is specific to social robots, acting as factors that enhance attitudes and behavioral intentions in human-robot interactions. Keywords: Robot acceptance model; Socially interactive robots; Social robots; Social presence. (shrink)
This paper employs conversation analysis to examine the inter-connection between grammar and displays of contextual understanding, social identity, and social relationships as well as other activities clustering around turn-endings in Japanese talk-in-interaction, while undertaking a restricted comparison with the realisation of similar activities in English. A notable feature of turn-endings in Japanese is the particular salience of grammatical construction on the interactional activities they accomplish. Complete turns which are also syntactically complete are shown to be associated with (...) the explicit display of contextual features, whereas syntactically incomplete turns are designed to circumvent or minimise such displays. The explicit or implicit display of one's social and contextual relationship to the interactional environment is therefore seen to be an integral part of the performance of social actions in Japanese. On the other hand, in English, it is more difficult to establish a clear association between grammar and the inclusion or avoidance of contextual displays. (shrink)
Social cognition researchers have become increasingly interested in the ways that behavioral, physiological, and neural coupling facilitate socialinteraction and interpersonal understanding. We distinguish two ways of conceptualizing the role of such coupling processes in social cognition: strong and moderate interactionism. According to strong interactionism (SI), low-level coupling processes are alternatives to higher-level individual cognitive processes; the former at least sometimes render the latter superfluous. Moderate interactionism(MI) on the other hand, is an integrative approach. Its guiding (...) assumption is that higher-level cognitive processes are likely to have been shaped by the need to coordinate, modulate, and extract information from low-level coupling processes. In this paper, we present a case study on Möbius Syndrome (MS) in order to contrast SI and MI. We show how MS—a form of congenital bilateral facial paralysis—can be a fruitful source of insight for research exploring the relation between high-level cognition and low-level coupling. Lacking a capacity for facial expression, individuals with MS are deprived of a primary channel for gestural coupling. According to SI, they lack an essential enabling feature for socialinteraction and interpersonal understanding more generally and thus ought to exhibit severe deficits in these areas. We challenge SI’s prediction and show how MS cases offer compelling reasons for instead adopting MI’s pluralistic model of socialinteraction and interpersonal understanding. We conclude that investigations of coupling processes within socialinteraction should inform rather than marginalize or eliminate investigation of higher-level individual cognition. (shrink)
This review proposes that Bloom's linkage of word meaning with more general cognitive capacities could be extended through examination of the social contexts in which children learn. Specifically, the child's developing theory of mind can be viewed as part of the process by which children learn word meanings through engagement in social interactions that facilitate both language and strategic behaviours.
This paper presents a series of 4 single subject experiments aimed to investigate whether children with autism show more social engagement when interacting with the Nao robot, compared to a human partner in a motor imitation task. The Nao robot imitates gross arm movements of the child in real-time. Different behavioral criteria (i.e. eye gaze, gaze shifting, free initiations and prompted initiations of arm movements, and smile/laughter) were analyzed based on the video data of the interaction. The results (...) are mixed and suggest a high variability in reactions to the Nao robot. The results are as follows: For Child2 and Child3, the results indicate no effect of the Nao robot in any of the target variables. Child1 and Child4 showed more eye gaze and smile/laughter in the interaction with the Nao robot compared to the human partner and Child1 showed a higher frequency of motor initiations in the interaction with the Nao robot compared to the baselines, but not with respect to the human-interaction. The robot proved to be a better facilitator of shared attention only for Child1. Keywords: human-robot interaction; assistive robotics; autism. (shrink)
In this paper I defend interaction theory (IT) as an alternative to both theory theory (TT) and simulation theory (ST). IT opposes the basic suppositions that both TT and ST depend upon. I argue that the various capacities for primary and secondary intersubjectivity found in infancy and early childhood should not be thought of as precursors to later developing capacities for using folk psychology or simulation routines. They are not replaced or displaced by such capacities in adulthood, but rather (...) continue to operate as our ordinary and everyday basis for social cognition. I also argue that enactive perception rather than implicit simulation is the best model for explaining these capacities. (shrink)
Goffman is credited with enriching our understanding of the details of interaction, but not with challenging our theoretical understanding of social organization. While Goffman's position is not consistent, the outlines for a theory of an interaction order sui generis may be found in his work. It is not theoretically adequate to understand Goffman as an interactionist within the dichotomy between agency and social structure. Goffman offers a way of resolving this dichotomy via the idea of an (...)interaction order which is constitutive of self and at the same time places demands on social structure. This has significant implications for our understanding of social organization in general. (shrink)
Enactive approaches foreground the role of interpersonal interaction in explanations of social understanding. This motivates, in combination with a recent interest in neuroscientific studies involving actual interactions, the question of how interactive processes relate to neural mechanisms involved in social understanding. We introduce the Interactive Brain Hypothesis (IBH) in order to help map the spectrum of possible relations between socialinteraction and neural processes. The hypothesis states that interactive experience and skills play enabling roles in (...) both the development and current function of social brain mechanisms, even in cases where social understanding happens in the absence of immediate interaction. We examine the plausibility of this hypothesis against developmental and neurobiological evidence and contrast it with the widespread assumption that mindreading is crucial to all social cognition. We describe the elements of socialinteraction that bear most directly on this hypothesis and discuss the empirical possibilities open to social neuroscience. We propose that the link between coordination dynamics and social understanding can be best grasped by studying transitions between states of coordination. These transitions form part of the self-organization of interaction processes that characterize the dynamics of social engagement. The patterns and synergies of this self-organization help explain how individuals understand each other. Various possibilities for role-taking emerge during interaction, determining a spectrum of participation. This view contrasts sharply with the observational stance that has guided research in social neuroscience until recently. We also introduce the concept of readiness to interact to describe the practices and dispositions that are summoned in situations of social significance (even if not interactive). This latter idea links interactive factors to more classical observational scenarios. (shrink)
The study introduces an interaction-based model that illustrates the iterative process of corporate responsiveness to social pressure. The model is then applied to a recent case of international relevance. The study implies that corporate management can apply three types of management approaches when managing relations with society, depending on their perception of social pressure: tactic, strategic or no action. This is then reflected in their practice of public relations (PR). Ethical leadership is considered to be manifested by (...) the proactive practice of PR, which aims at mutual understanding between the organisation and the stakeholders. The firm’s interaction with the stakeholders does not guarantee that social pressure would actually be relieved. Rather, PR fails in its task of establishing and maintaining favourable relationships if it does not meet stakeholders’ expectations. Identifying emerging issues, relevant publics and preferable communication methods within a given context is the precondition for strategic, proactive management of stakeholder relations. This is especially relevant in the international business environment where the firm is challenged with increased institutional distance and pressure. (shrink)
Although Colman's criticisms of orthodox game theory are convincing, his assessment of progress toward construction of an alternative is unnecessarily restrictive and pessimistic. He omits an important multidisciplinary literature grounded in human evolutionary biology, in particular the existence and function of social emotions experienced when facing some strategic choices. I end with an alternative suggestion for modifying orthodox game theory.
Abstract: Cognitive developmental research has neglected the very early stages of moral development. Three recent attempts to fill this gap are briefly described. The first is Martin Hoffman's stage theory account of the origins of empathy. The second is Selman's theory of the development of social perspective?taking. The third is Damon's account of the development of ?positive justice? in early childhood. The implications of these approaches for early moral education are then discussed.
Human beings inhabit a symbolic reality that articulates meaning. This is culture understood as a web of meanings that actually builds our identity by providing guidance in the complexity of our environment. It is the complex interplay between identity and alterity, between interiority and exteriority, between familiarity and strangeness. Worldviews set up borders that delimit one's own world and others' ground by establishing stereotypes and prejudices. This article presents the results of a research project on prejudices towards the other in (...) students majoring in Education and Psychology with the aim of offering some reflections on what is at stake in social exclusion policies. (shrink)
Colman's reformulation of rational theory is challenged in two ways. Analogy-making is suggested as a possible candidate for an underlying and unifying cognitive mechanism of decision-making, one which can explain some of the paradoxes of rationality. A broader framework is proposed in which rationality is considered as an emerging property of analogy-based behavior.
Game theory poses problems for modeling rational belief, but it does not need a new theory of rationality. Experimental results that suggest otherwise often reveal difficulties in testing game theory, rather than mistakes or paradoxes. Even though the puzzles Colman discusses show no inadequacy in the standard theory of rationality, they show that improved models of belief are needed.
Open peer commentary on the target article “From Objects to Processes: A Proposal to Rewrite Radical Constructivism” by Siegfried J. Schmidt. Upshot: We largely agree with Siegfried J. Schmidt’s focus on process and his call to look at how the “heavy words” of philosophy – “reality,” “knowledge,” “truth,” and like – are used in our everyday life-world. As communication researchers, we examine two transcripts of conversation to sketch empirically how “the real” is reported in giving directions or used in an (...) account to undermine another’s blame narrative. By this discursive turn we attempt to let the ontological wind of out such terms as “real” and look at its indexical situated uses and how it works in constituting our life-world. (shrink)
There is converging evidence from developmental and cognitive psychology, as well as from neuroscience, to suggest that the self is both special and social, and that self-other interaction is the driving force behind self-development. We review experimental findings which demonstrate that human infants are motivated for social interactions and suggest that the development of an awareness of other minds is rooted in the implicit notion that others are like the self. We then marshal evidence from functional neuroimaging (...) explorations of the neurophysiological substrate of shared representations between the self and others, using various ecological paradigms such as mentally representing one's own actions versus others' actions, watching the actions executed by others, imitating the others' actions versus being imitated by others. We suggest that within this shared neural network the inferior parietal cortex and the prefrontal cortex in the right hemisphere play a special role in the essential ability to distinguish the self from others, and in the way the self represents the other. Interestingly, the right hemisphere develops its functions earlier than the left. (shrink)
Children are not simply molded by the environment; through constant inference and interpretation, they actively shape their own social world. This book is about that process. Elliot Turiel's work focuses on the development of moral judgment in children and adolescents and, more generally, on their evolving understanding of the conventions of social systems. His research suggests that social judgements are ordered, systematic, subtly discriminative, and related to behavior. His theory of the ways in which children generate (...) class='Hi'>social knowledge through their social experiences will be of interest to a wide range of researchers and students in child development and education. (shrink)
This paper examines the ways in which social scientific discourse and classification interact with the objects of social scientific investigation. I examine this interaction in the context of the traditional philosophical project of demarcating the social sciences from the natural sciences. I begin by reviewing Ian Hacking’s work on interactive classification and argue that there are additional forms of interaction that must be treated.
How do we refer to people in everyday conversation? No matter the language or culture, we must choose from a range of options: full name ('Robert Smith'), reduced name ('Bob'), description ('tall guy'), kin term ('my son') etc. Our choices reflect how we know that person in context, and allow us to take a particular perspective on them. This book brings together a team of leading linguists, sociologists and anthropologists to show that there is more to person reference than meets (...) the eye. Drawing on video-recorded, everyday interactions in nine languages, it examines the fascinating ways in which we exploit person reference for social and cultural purposes, and reveals the underlying principles of person reference across cultures from the Americas to Asia to the South Pacific. Combining rich ethnographic detail with cross-linguistic generalizations, it will be welcomed by researchers and graduate students interested in the relationship between language and culture. (shrink)
In recent years, a number of theorists have developed approaches to social cognition that highlight the centrality of socialinteraction as opposed to mindreading (e.g. Gallagher and Zahavi 2008 ; Gallagher 2001 , 2007 , 2008 ; Hobson 2002 ; Reddy 2008 ; Hutto 2004 ; De Jaegher 2009 ; De Jaegher and Di Paolo 2007 ; Fuchs and De Jaegher 2009 ; De Jaegher et al. 2010 ). There are important differences among these approaches, as I (...) will discuss, but they are united by their commitment to the claim that various embodied and extended processes sustain social understanding and interaction in the absence of mindreading and thus make mindreading superfluous. In this paper, I consider various ways of articulating and defending this claim. I will argue that the options that have been offered either fail to present an alternative to mindreading or commit one to a radical enactivist position that I will give reasons for being skeptical about. I will then present an alternative and moderate version of interactionism, according to which the embodied and extended processes that interactionists emphasize actually complement mindreading and may even contribute as an input to mindreading. (shrink)
Modes of action readiness Acceptance accepting presence or interaction Non- acceptance not accepting presence or interaction Attending acquiring information Disinterest not acquiring information Affiliate achieving or accepting close ...
Sitting in the office of a distinguished philosopher of language recently, I watched him lean back (somewhat precariously) in his chair, look at the ceiling, and sigh: “Johan, we both write all this stuff about information, context, and communication – but is not the only time you really feel that you are making progress, when you resolutely close your eyes, and shut out the world and the others?” I appreciated his point, and indeed, in most spheres of life on this (...) planet, “l’Enfer” is most definitely “Les Autres”. (shrink)
There are important structural similarities in the way that animals and humans engage in unreflective activities, including unreflective social interactions in the case of higher animals. Firstly, it is a form of unreflective embodied intelligence that is ‘motivated’ by the situation. Secondly, both humans and non-human animals are responsive to ‘affordances’ (Gibson 1979); to possibilities for action offered by an environment. Thirdly, both humans and animals are selectively responsive to one affordance rather than another. Social affordances are a (...) subcategory of affordances, namely possibilities for socialinteraction offered by an environment: a friend’s sad face invites comforting behavior, a person waiting for a coffee machine can afford a conversation, and an extended hand affords a handshake. I will review recent insights in the nature of the bodily intentionality characteristic of unreflective action. Such ‘motor intentionality’ can be characterized as “our direct bodily inclination to act in a situated, environmental context” (Kelly 2005, p. 106). Standard interpretations of bodily intentionality see grasping an object as the paradigmatic example of motor intentionality. I will discuss the implications of another, novel perspective that emphasizes the importance of unreflective switches from one activity to another (Rietveld 2004) and understands bodily intentionality in terms of adequate responsiveness to a field of relevant affordances. In the final section I will discuss some implications for cognitive neuroscientists who use empirical findings related to the ‘mirror neuron system’ as a starting point for a theory of motor intentionality and social cognition. (shrink)
The aim of this volume is to explore new approaches to the problem of the constitution of the various aspects of sociality and to confront these with received ideas. Many of the contributions are devoted to a rather holistic and antireductionist conception of social objects, groups, joint actions, and collective knowledge. The topics that are dealt with are: (a) the question of the ontological status of social objects and their relation to physical objects; (b) collective agency; and (c) (...) the question whether there can be shared knowledge and shared beliefs, a rather new topic in the discussion of the social aspects of personal life. (shrink)
What is the proper unit of analysis in the psycholinguistics of dialog? While classical approaches are largely based on models of individual linguistic processing, recent advances stress the social coordinative nature of dialog. In the influential interactive alignment model, dialogue is thus approached as the progressive entrainment of interlocutors' linguistic behaviors toward the alignment of situation models. Still, the driving mechanisms are attributed to individual cognition in the form of automatic structural priming. Challenging these ideas, we outline a dynamical (...) framework for studying dialog based on the notion of interpersonal synergy. Crucial to this synergetic model is the emphasis on dialog as an emergent, self-organizing, interpersonal system capable of functional coordination. A consequence of this model is that linguistic processes cannot be reduced to the workings of individual cognitive systems but must be approached also at the interpersonal level. From the synergy model follows a number of new predictions: beyond simple synchrony, good dialog affords complementary dynamics, constrained by contextual sensitivity and functional specificity. We substantiate our arguments by reference to recent empirical studies supporting the idea of dialog as interpersonal synergy. (shrink)
My description of the cognitive processes involved in the discovery, development, and acceptance of the bacterial theory of ulcers might have left the impression that science is all in the mind (Thagard, forthcoming-b). But only part of the story of the bacterial theory of ulcers is psychological. This paper discusses the important role of physical interaction with the world by means of instruments and experiments, and the equally important role of social interactions among the medical researchers who developed (...) the theory. The main questions I want to answer are the following: 1. What instruments contributed to the development and acceptance of the new theory? 2. What kinds of experiments contributed to the development and acceptance of the new theory? 3. How did theorizing and experimentation interact in the development of new experiments and hypotheses? 4. How did social processes such as collaboration, communication, and consensus contribute to the development and widespread acceptance of the bacterial theory of ulcers? I conclude with a sketch of science as a complex system of interacting psychological, physical, and social processes. (shrink)
This paper proposes an empirical hypothesis that in some cases of socialinteraction we have an immediate perceptual access to others' minds in the perception of their embodied intentionality. Our point of departure is the phenomenological insight that there is an experiential difference in the perception of embodied intentionality and the perception of non-intentionality. The other's embodied intentionality is perceptually given in a way that is different from the givenness of non-intentionality. We claim that the phenomenological difference in (...) the perception of embodied intentionality and non-intentionality translates into an account of how, in some cases of social cognition, we perceive mental properties in the perception of embodied intentionality. The hypothesis derives support from a host of recent empirical studies in social neuroscience which demonstrate the importance of embodied engagements in understanding other minds. These studies reveal that embodied intersubjective interaction often builds on our ability to understand other minds in an immediate perceptual way not adequately investigated by theory-theory (TT) and simulation theories (ST) of mind-reading. We argue that there is a genuine, nontrivial difference in the informational content of the perception of embodied intentionality and the perception of non-intentionality which leads to a further difference in the way information is processed in the case of perception of embodied intentionality as opposed to the perception of non-intentionality. The full significance of such difference is appreciated only within an account of perception which views perception and action as tightly coupled. Thus, we propose an "action-oriented account of social perception" to develop a neurophilosophical account of the perceptual knowledge of other minds. (shrink)
Sharing a public language facilitates particularly efficient forms of joint perception and action by giving interlocutors refined tools for directing attention and aligning conceptual models and action. We hypothesized that interlocutors who flexibly align their linguistic practices and converge on a shared language will improve their cooperative performance on joint tasks. To test this prediction, we employed a novel experimental design, in which pairs of participants cooperated linguistically to solve a perceptual task. We found that dyad members generally showed a (...) high propensity to adapt to each other’s linguistic practices. However, although general linguistic alignment did not have a positive effect on performance, the alignment of particular task-relevant vocabularies strongly correlated with collective performance. In other words, the more dyad members selectively aligned linguistic tools fit for the task, the better they performed. Our work thus uncovers the interplay between social dynamics and sensitivity to task affordances in successful cooperation. (shrink)
This book departs from the premise that context represents a complex relational configuration which can no longer be conceived as an analytic prime but rather requires a parts-whole perspective to capture its inherent dynamism. The edited volume presents a collection of papers which examine the connectedness between context, contextualization and entextualization. They address the questions how meaning and speech acts are situated in context, how both are influenced by context, how context influences speech acts and meaning, how context is imported (...) into the discourse, and how context is entextualized in discourse. The papers cover institutional and non-institutional contexts, the language of Greek laws, political discourse, confrontational media discourse and task-oriented face-to-face and back-to-back interactions. They reflect current moves in pragmatics and discourse analysis to cross disciplinary and methodological boundaries by integrating relevant premises and insights, in particular cognition, adaptive action, negotiation of meaning, sequentiality, recipient design and genre. (shrink)
Internal relations are those relations that are intrinsic to the nature of one or more of the relata. They are a kind of essential relation, rather than an essential property. For example, an arc of a circle is internally related to the center of that circle in the sense that.
In this paper recognition is taken to be a question of social ontology, regarding the very constitution of the social space of interaction. I concentrate on the question of whether certain aspects of the theory of recognition can be translated into the terms of a socio-ontological paradigm: to do so, I make reference to some conceptual tools derived from John Searle's social ontology and Robert Brandom's normative pragmatics. My strategy consists in showing that recognitive phenomena cannot (...) be isolated at the level of human interaction, and are, rather, in part proper to animal interaction as well. Furthermore, it is argued that recognitive powers are constitutive powers more basic than deontic ones and play a role much broader than the one they in fact assume in Searle and in Brandom. (shrink)
Knowledge in a Social World offers a philosophy for the information age. Alvin Goldman explores new frontiers by creating a thoroughgoing social epistemology, moving beyond the traditional focus on solitary knowers. Against the tides of postmodernism and social constructionism Goldman defends the integrity of truth and shows how to promote it by well-designed forms of socialinteraction. From science to education, from law to democracy, he shows why and how public institutions should seek knowledge-enhancing practices. (...) The result is a bold, timely, and systematic treatment of the philosophical foundations of an information society. (shrink)
There is a rapidly expanding field of research on social and ethical interactions with nano-scaled sciences and technologies. An important question is: What does social and ethical research actually mean when it is focussed on technological applications that are largely hypothetical, and a field of science spread out across multiple disciplines and lacking unification? This paper maps early literature in the field of research as a way of answering this question. Our aim is to describe how this field (...) is developing in response to its difficult task, and particularly, to comment on the topics of focus and where there is potential for future development. We present four topical categories, labelled Governance, Perception, Science and Philosophy, and use these as a tool to both map the field and to analyse its development. We find a majority of literature currently focused on issues of governance and perception, and offer suggestions for why this might be so. We then discuss cross-category themes of definition, novelty and interdisciplinarity, highlighting diverse positions and a problematic lack of direct debate. Our conclusion is that the field would benefit from more interaction, cross-referencing and creative research across traditional fields of inquiry. (shrink)
Social change is a structural transformation of political, social and economic systems and institutions to create a more equitable and just society and it is a universal phenomenon and it occurs in every society. Technically said that social change refers to an alteration in the social order of a social group or society; a change in the nature, social institutions, social behaviours or social relations of a society. As we know Change is (...) inevitable and it takes place in all fields. The term “social change” is often used to describe variations in, or, modifications of any respect of social process, social patterns, socialinteraction or social organization. Great thinkers emerged from various societies induce social change in different times. (shrink)
The comparison between biological and social macroevolution is a very important (though insufficiently studied) subject whose analysis renders new significant possibilities to comprehend the processes, trends, mechanisms, and peculiarities of each of the two types of macroevolution. Of course, there are a few rather important (and very understandable) differences between them; however, it appears possible to identify a number of fundamental similarities. One may single out at least three fundamental sets of factors determining those similarities. First of all, those (...) similarities stem from the fact that in both cases we are dealing with very complex non-equilibrium (but rather stable) systems whose principles of functioning and evolution are described by the General Systems' Theory, as well as by a number of cybernetic principles and laws. -/- Secondly, in both cases we do not deal with isolated systems; in both cases we deal with a complex interaction between systems of organic systems and external environment, whereas the reaction of systems to external challenges can be described in terms of certain general principles (that, however, express themselves rather differently within the biological reality, on the one hand, and within the social reality, on the other). -/- Thirdly, it is necessary to mention a direct ‘genetic’ link between the two types of macroevolution and their mutual influence. -/- It is important to emphasize that the very similarity of the principles and regularities of the two types of macroevolution does not imply their identity. Rather significant similarities are frequently accompanied by enormous differences. For example, genomes of the chimpanzees and the humans are very similar – with differences constituting just a few per cent; however, there are enormous differences with respect to intellectual and social differences of the chimpanzees and the humans hidden behind the apparently ‘insignificant’ difference between the two genomes. Thus, in certain respects it appears reasonable to consider the biological and social macroevolution as a single macroevolutionary process. This implies the necessity to comprehend the general laws and regularities that describe this process, though their manifestations may display significant variations depending on properties of a concrete evolving entity (biological, or social one). An important notion that may contribute to the improvement of the operationalization level as regards the comparison between the two types of macroevolution is the one that we suggested some time ago – the social aromorphosis (that was developed as a counterpart to the notion of biological aromorphosis well established within Russian evolutionary biology). We regard social aromorphosis as a rare qualitative macrochange that increases in a very significant way complexity, adaptability, and mutual influence of the social systems, that opens new possibilities for social macrodevelopment. In our paper we discuss a number of regularities that describe biological and social macroevolution and that employ the notions of social and biological aromorphosis such as ones of the module evolution (or the evolutionary ‘block assemblage’), ‘payment for arogenic progress’ etc. (shrink)
This book shows how our moral concepts are nourished by awe, reverence, and various forms of love. These ways of encountering the world and other human beings inform our sense of good and evil, of justice and injustice, of obligation, of fidelity and betrayal, and of many virtues and vices. In ways moral philosophy commonly misses, this book shows moral understanding is broadened and deepened by what is disclosed only in these forms of encounter.
Micro-interaction dynamics of affective sanctioning have been widely acknowledged but rarely related to the emergence of social phenomena. This paper aims to highlight the constitutive force of interaction activity by critically analysing two sociological models, Bourdieu's theory of practice and Barnes's Performative Theory of Social Institutions (PTSI). Such a comparison allows me to reveal two differing models of social phenomena currently operating in sociological debates: an extrinsic structuralist model which tacitly conveys macro-structural phenomena as prior (...) and determinant of individuals and their micro-interactions, and an intrinsic structuralism model which prioritizes individuals’ interactions and conceives them as constituting both the individual and the structural. I argue that the latter's emphasis on the dynamics of mutual susceptibility to affective sanctioning as underpinning consensus among inherently heterogeneous individuals provides a platform to further support the tenets of Interactionism and helps to expose Bourdieu's over-deterministic methodological individualism prevalent in most sociological theory. I conclude that by conceiving emotions as causal, rather than the effect of social forces, sociological theory can provide an explanation of both individual practices and systemic phenomena which resolves macro-structural tensions. In doing so, I suggest an ontological understanding of the “social” which supports the Interactionist central tenet that the local takes priority over wider structural phenomena. (shrink)
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 a new interpretation of the concept of social relations of production in Marx. Against G.A. Cohen, it argues that social relations of production are relations of interaction between persons, not relations of de facto control between persons and means of production. It argues further that these relations are relations of 'de facto recognition', that is, relations constituted by actions in which individuals treat each other as if they recognised each other in certain ways, whether (...) or not the relevant recognitional attitudes are present. (shrink)
Martin Hollis (d.1998) was arguably the most incisive, eloquent and witty philosopher of the social sciences of his time. His work is appreciated and contested here by some of the most eminent of contemporary social theorists. Hollis's philosophy of social action, routinely distinguished between understanding (rational) and explanation (causal). He argued that the aptest account of human interaction was to be made in terms of the first. Thus he focused upon the human reasons, for, rather than (...) upon the natural causes of, action. This volume, for the first time, brings together important essays on the work of Hollis, from many different perspectives. These include politics, sociology and economics in general; international relations, rational choice theory, constitutionalism and the rule of law as well as current concerns with relativism, Rousseauist contractarianism, "dirty hands" and "buck-passing". (shrink)
Most scholars describe Kant’s idea of dignity as what I term his “vertical” account—that is, our human dignity insofar as we rise above heteronomous natural inclinations and realize human freedom by obeying the moral law. In this paper, I attempt to supplement this traditional view by exploring Kant’s neglected “horizontal” account of dignity—that is, our human dignity insofar as we exist in relationship with others. First, I examine the negative aspect of this horizontal account of dignity, found in Kant’s discussion (...) of public heteronomy perpetuated by unjust social institutions. Second, I explore Kant’s idea of public dignity realized via socialinteraction: both (1) at the interpersonal level of education and friendship, and (2) at the societal level, in terms of moral education in the public sphere and a communal moral striving towards the highest good. I argue that we cannot realize our full human dignity for Kant outside of the context of concrete social relations with other moral agents. (shrink)
In The Excessive Subject: A New Theory of Social Change, Molly Anne Rothenberg uncovers an innovative theory of social change implicit in the writings of radical social theorists, such as Pierre Bourdieu, Michel de Certeau, Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau, and Slavoj ?i?ek. Through case studies of these writers' work, Rothenberg illuminates how this new theory calls into question currently accepted views of social practices, subject formation, democratic interaction, hegemony, political solidarity, revolutionary acts, and the ethics (...) of alterity. Finding a common dissatisfaction with the dominant paradigms of social structures in the authors she discusses, Rothenberg goes on to show that each of these thinkers makes use of Lacan's investigations of the causality of subjectivity in an effort to find an alternative paradigm. Labeling this paradigm 'extimate causality', Rothenberg demonstrates how it produces a nondeterminacy, so that every subject bears some excess; paradoxically, this excess is what structures the social field itself. Whilst other theories of social change, subject formation, and political alliance invariably conceive of the elimination of this excess as necessary to their projects, the theory of extimate causality makes clear that it is ineradicable. To imagine otherwise is to be held hostage to a politics of fantasy. As she examines the importance as well as the limitations of theories that put extimate causality to work, Rothenberg reveals how the excess of the subject promises a new theory of social change. By bringing these prominent thinkers together for the first time in one volume, this landmark text will be sure to ignite debate among scholars in the field, as well as being an indispensable tool for students. (shrink)
We are quickly passing through the historical moment when people work in front of a single computer, dominated by a small CRT and focused on tasks involving only local information. Networked computers are becoming ubiquitous and are playing increasingly significant roles in our lives and in the basic infrastructure of science, business, and socialinteraction. For human-computer interaction o advance in the new millennium we need to better understand the emerging dynamic of interaction in which the (...) focus task is no longer confined to the desktop but reaches into a complex networked world of information and computer-mediated interactions. We think the theory of distributed cognition has a special role to play in understanding interactions between people and technologies, for its focus has always been on whole environments: what we really do in them and how we coordinate our activity in them. Distributed cognition provides a radical reorientation of how to think about designing and supporting human-computer interaction. As a theory it is specifically tailored to understanding interactions among people and technologies. In this article we propose distributed cognition as a new foundation for human-computer interaction, sketch an integrated research framework, and use selections from our earlier work to suggest how this framework can provide new opportunities in the design of digital work materials. (shrink)