A strange hand: On self-recognition and recognition of another

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 8 (3):321-342 (2009)
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Abstract

This article provides a phenomenological analysis of the difference between self-recognition and recognition of another, while referring to some contemporary neuroscientific studies on the rubber hand illusion. It examines the difference between these two forms of recognition on the basis of Husserl’s and Merleau-Ponty’s work. It argues that both phenomenologies, despite their different views on inter-subjectivity, allow for the specificity of recognition of another. In explaining self-recognition, however, Husserl’s account seems less convincing. Research concerning the rubber hand illusion has confirmed that self-recognition involves more than an immediate experience of oneself. Merleau-Ponty’s later work, describing self-recognition as the result of assimilative identification, will be used to explain the possibility of illusion between one’s “hereness” and “thereness”. The possibility of this illusion is inherent to self-recognition, while it is lacking in recognition of another.

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Jenny Slatman
Maastricht University

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