What’s so Special About Interaction in Social Cognition?

Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (2):181-198 (2017)
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Enactivists often defend the following two claims: Successful interactions are not driven and explained by the interactors’ ability to mindread. And the mechanisms enabling 2nd personal social cognition and those enabling 3rd personal social cognition are distinct. In this paper, I argue that both of these claims are false. With regard to I argue that enactivists fail to provide a plausible alternative to traditional accounts of social cognition in interaction. I examine and reject Hanne De Jaegher’s view according to which interaction is “constitutive” for social interaction. Furthermore, I critically discuss Shaun Gallagher’s and Daniel Hutto’s views according to which social interactions are exclusively driven by low level cognitive mechanisms such as “gaze following” and “emotion detection”. Concerning, I rely on data from so called “spontaneous response” false belief tasks to show that interactive and observational paradigms require the same “social-cognitive” interpretation.

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Julius Schönherr
Peking University