Consciousness and Cognition 18 (2):543-546 (2009)

Daniel D. Hutto
University of Wollongong
De Jaegher’s (2009) paper argues that Gallagher, who aims to replace traditional theory-of-mind accounts of social understanding with accounts based on direct perception (hereafter DP), has missed an important opportunity. Despite a desire to break faith with tradition, there is a danger that proponents of DP accounts will remain (at least tacitly) committed to an unchallenged, and perhaps unnoticed, sort of individualism inherent in traditional theories (i.e. those that regard our engagement with others as a ‘problem’ to be solved: a problem of other minds). Taking a more root and branch approach, De Jaegher recommends a complete shift of focus. She proposes that a more thoroughgoing and fruitful response to traditional approaches must attend to, and seek to understand, interactional phenomena proper—for it is the nature of interactions themselves that importantly influence individuals. Hence, it is the processes of interacting which ‘span individuals’ and their specific, dynamic evolution over time that should take pride of place in research into social cognition. De Jaegher wants to put interactional processes – those that can ‘take on life of their own’ and ‘influence interactors’ – at the heart of enquiries into intersubjectivity. Citing other recent work she has done with Di Paolo, she bills this as ‘‘the central task of any account of intersubjectivity” (De Jaegher, 2009, p. 2; De Jaegher & Di Paolo, 2007). The trouble is that this way of putting matters can make it look as if there is just one task facing researchers in this area; that we are faced with an either/or choice. But it is clear that any fully illuminated understanding of interactional phenomena will require accounts of what individuals and their sub-personal processes/mechanisms are doing in this larger process and, presumably, how their mechanisms/tendencies of response constrain and shape local bouts of interacting, even if we assume it is the dynamics of such encounters that importantly influence and shape what comes next..
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DOI 10.1016/j.concog.2008.12.006
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References found in this work BETA

Participatory Sense-Making: An Enactive Approach to Social Cognition.Hanne De Jaegher & Ezequiel Di Paolo - 2007 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (4):485-507.
Simulation Trouble.Shaun Gallagher - 2007 - Social Neuroscience 2 (3-4):353–365.
Before and Below 'Theory of Mind': Embodied Simulation and the Neural Correlates of Social Cognition.Vittorio Gallese - 2007 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 362 (1480):659-669.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Phenomenology of Person Perception.Joel Krueger - 2014 - In Mark Bruhn & Donald Wehrs (eds.), Neuroscience, Literature, and History. Routledge. pp. 153-173.
Unlikely Allies: Embodied Social Cognition and the Intentional Stance.Tadeusz Wieslaw Zawidzki - 2012 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (4):487-506.

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