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)
Drawing on the work of Scheler, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Husserl and Sartre, this article presents an overview of some of the diverse approaches to intersubjectivity that can be found in the phenomenological tradition. Starting with a brief description of Scheler's criticism of the argument from analogy, the article continues by showing that the phenomenological analyses of intersubjectivity involve much more than a 'solution' to the 'traditional' problem of other minds. Intersubjectivity doesn't merely concern concrete face-to-face encounters between individuals. (...) It is also something that is at play in simple perception, in tool-use, in emotions, drives and different types of self-awareness. Ultimately, the phenomenologists would argue that a treatment of intersubjectivity requires a simultaneous analysis of the relationship between subjectivity and world. It is not possible simply to insert intersubjectivity somewhere within an already established ontology; rather, the three regions 'self', 'others', and 'world' belong together; they reciprocally illuminate one another, and can only be understood in their interconnection. (shrink)
__Husserl and Transcendental Intersubjectivity __analyzes the transcendental relevance of intersubjectivity and argues that an intersubjective transformation of transcendental philosophy can already be found in phenomenology, especially in Husserl. Husserl eventually came to believe that an analysis of transcendental intersubjectivity was a _conditio sine qua non_ for a phenomenological philosophy. Drawing on both published and unpublished manuscripts, Dan Zahavi examines Husserl's reasons for this conviction and delivers a detailed analysis of his radical and complex concept of intersubjectivity, (...) showing that precisely his reflections on transcendental intersubjectivity are capable of clarifying the core-concepts of phenomenology, thus making possible a new understanding of Husserl’s philosophy. Against this background the book compares his view with the approaches to intersubjectivity found in Heidegger, Sartre, and Merleau-Ponty, and it then attempts to establish to what extent the phenomenological approach can contribute to the current discussion of intersubjectivity. This is achieved through a systematic confrontation with the language-pragmatical positions of Apel and Habermas. (shrink)
Translation and Introduction by Fred Kersten Alfred Schutz’s lecture, “The Problem of Intersubjectivity in Husserl,” was read and discussed at the Husserl-Colloquium in Royaumont on April 28, 1957. The German text of the lecture appeared in Philosophische Rundschau: Eine Vierteljahrsschrift für philosophische Kritik, edited by Hans-Georg Gadamer and Helmut Kuhn, Vol. V, 1957, pp. 81ff. A translation of the lecture by Frederick Kersten in collaboration with Professors Aron Gurwitsch and Professor Thomas Luckmann was published in Alfred Schutz, Collected Papers, (...) Volume III, edited by Ilse Schutz and an Introduction by Aron Gurwitsch. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to motivate the need for and then present the outline of an alternative explanation of what Dan Zahavi has dubbed “open intersubjectivity,” which captures the basic interpersonal character of perceptual experience as such. This is a notion whose roots lay in Husserl’s phenomenology. Accordingly, the paper begins by situating the notion of open intersubjectivity – as well as the broader idea of constituting intersubjectivity to which it belongs – within Husserl’s phenomenology (...) as an approach distinct from his more well-known account of empathy in the Fifth Cartesian Meditation. I then recapitulate and criticize Zahavi’s phenomenological explanation of open intersubjectivity, arguing that his account hinges on a flawed phenomenology of perceptual experience. In the wake of that criticism, I supply an alternative phenomenological framework for explaining open intersubjectivity, appealing to the methodological principles of Husserl’s genetic phenomenology and his theory of developmentally primitive affect. Those principles are put to work using the resources of recent studies of cognitive developmental and social cognition. From that literature, I discuss how infants learn about the world from others in secondary intersubjectivity through natural pedagogy. Lastly, the paper closes by showing how the discussion of infant development explains the phenomenon of open intersubjectivity and by highlighting the relatively moderate nature of this account compared to Zahavi’s. (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.
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.
What makes it possible to affect one another, to move and be moved by another person? Why do some of our encounters transform us? The experience of moving one another points to the inter-affective in intersubjectivity. Inter-affection is hard to account for under a cognitivist banner, and has not received much attention in embodied work on intersubjectivity. I propose that understanding inter-affection needs a combination of insights into self-affection, embodiment, and interaction processes. I start from Michel Henry's radically (...) immanent idea of self-affection, and bring it into a contrastive dialogue with the enactive concepts of autonomy and (participatory) sense-making. I suggest that the latter ideas can open up Henry's idea of self-affection to inter-affection (something he aimed to do, but did not quite manage) and that, in turn, Henry's work can provide insights into underexplored elements of intersubjectivity, such as its ineffable and mysterious aspects, and erotic encounters. (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)
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 discusses an alternative interpretation of the term “Dasein” as Heidegger uses it in Being and Time and, in particular, the possibility that Dasein is meant to contain an inherent form of intersubjectivity to which we must “return” in order to achieve authenticity. In doing so, I build on the work of John Haugeland and his interpretation of Dasein as a mass term, while exploring the implications such an interpretation has on Heidegger’s conception of “authenticity”. Ultimately, this paper (...) aims to take seriously Heidegger’s claim to be moving past the isolated Cartesian subject and towards a view of authentic human existence that is cognizant of the way our identities are always formed within a pre-existing community. In addition, since many interpretations of Heidegger have argued that “the Anyone” is representative of all possible forms of community, I consider how this alternative understanding of Dasein as intersubjective can shed new light on critical remarks Heidegger makes about “the Anyone”. Thus, I argue that by reinterpreting Dasein as community, we can find more coherence between Heidegger’s otherwise conflicting conceptions of authenticity and “the Anyone”. (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)
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)
Intersubjectivity refers to the variety of possible relations between perspectives. It is indispensable for understanding human social behaviour. While theoretical work on intersubjectivity is relatively sophisticated, methodological approaches to studying intersubjectivity lag behind. Most methodologies assume that individuals are the unit of analysis. In order to research intersubjectivity, however, methodologies are needed that take relationships as the unit of analysis. The first aim of this article is to review existing methodologies for studying intersubjectivity. Four methodological (...) approaches are reviewed: comparative self-report, observing behaviour, analysing talk and ethnographic engagement. The second aim of the article is to introduce and contribute to the development of a dialogical method of analysis. The dialogical approach enables the study of intersubjectivity at different levels, as both implicit and explicit, and both within and between individuals and groups. The article concludes with suggestions for using the proposed method for researching intersubjectivity both within individuals and between individuals and groups. (shrink)
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 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)
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)
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)
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 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. 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 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)
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.
I propose a characterization of the dialectical dimension of argumentation by considering the activity of arguing as involving a “second order intersubjectivity”. I argue that argumentative communication enables this kind of intersubjectivity as a matter of the recursive nature of acts of arguing—both as justificatory and as persuasive devices. Calling attention to this feature is a way to underline that argumentative discourses represent the explicit part of a dynamic activity, “a mechanism of rational validation”, as Rescher showed, which (...) is a practice that presupposes the possibility of attaining objectivity. (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)
The arguments advanced in this paper are the following. Firstly, that just as Trevarthen’s three subjective/intersubjective levels, primary, secondary, and tertiary, mapped out different modes of access, so too response is similarly structured, from direct primordial responsiveness, to that informed by shared pragmatic concerns and narrative contexts, to that which demands the distantiation afforded by representation. Secondly, I propose that empathy is an essential mode of intentionality, integral to the primary level of subjectivity/intersubjectivity, which is crucial to our survival (...) as individuals and as a species. Further to this last point, I argue that empathy is not derived on the basis of intersubjectivity, nor does it merely disclose intersubjectivity, rather it is constitutive of intersubjectivity at the primary level. Empathy is a direct, irreducible intentionality separable in thought from the other primary intentional modes of perception, rationality, memory and imagination, but co-arising with these. In regard to the inter-personal level, the concrete relations with others, primary empathy is both the ground for the possibility of the secondary manifestations—pity, sympathy, perspective taking, etc., and motivates them. Thirdly, it is the movement in the core of subjectivity initially generated by shifting attention between the ‘I’ and ‘we’ perspectives and later ‘solidified’ through affect to become shifting identification, which opens up the intersubjective domain. So we can affirm that we are not only born into sociality but our sociality goes to the roots of our being as Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty have claimed. (shrink)
Over the last century within the philosophy of mind, the intersubjective model of self has gained traction as a viable alternative to the oft-criticised Cartesian solipsistic paradigm. These two models are presented as incompatible inasmuch as Cartesians perceive other minds as “a problem” for the self, while intersubjectivists insist that sociality is foundational to selfhood. This essay uses the Paranormal Activity series (2007–2015) to explore this philosophical debate. It is argued that these films simultaneously evoke Cartesian premises (via found-footage camerawork), (...) and intersubjectivity (via an ongoing narrative structure that emphasises connections between the characters, and between each film). The philosophical debates illuminate premises on which the series’ story and horror depends. Moreover, Paranormal Activity also sheds light on the theoretical debate: the series brings those two paradigms together into a coherent whole, thereby suggesting that the two models are potentially compatible. By developing a combined model, scholars working in the philosophy of mind might better account for the different aspects of self-experience these paradigms focus on. (shrink)
Transcendental Ego is the principle of principles that philosophization of great philosophers such as Husserl has been based upon it. Husserl, too, as a follower of Descartes meditations and philosophy with attemption in intentionality of transcendental ego accepts it as the base of principles of philosophization and declares himself as a New Cartesian. In this study, the author develops an original reading of the Cartesian Meditation. This text, far from giving rise to a “Transcendental solipsism”, leads to a constitution of (...)intersubjectivity on various levels (“primordial”, “Intersubjective” et “Objective”). In its center, a “Phenomenological Construction” operates, i.e. a methodological piece that masters the genetic approach of intersubjectivity. Closely following the “almost mathematical” rigour of this crucial text of Husserl’s phenomenology, in this way equally tackles the issue of the constitution of the experience of the other and the truly intersubjective structure of transcendental subjectivity. This study concludes with the metaphysical results of the analysis of the experience of the other. (shrink)
The foundational status that Edmund Husserl envisages for phenomenology in relation to the sciences would seem to suggest that the successful unfolding of contemporary debates in the field of social cognition will be conditioned by progress in resolving certain central controversies in the phenomenology of intersubjectivity, notably in long-standing questions pertaining to the priority of subjectivity in relation to intersubjectivity, and the priority of empathy in relation to other forms of intersubjectivity. That such controversies are long-standing is (...) in no small part attributable to the fact that the debate surrounding Husserl’s seminal attempts to elucidate these problems has placed his account, and certainly his published position, under a certain amount of pressure, pressure which stems from the suspicion that intentionality toward others may be more deeply embedded in subjectivity than the Husserl of Cartesian Meditations seems prepared to admit. Is the primordinally reduced solipsistic subject of the Fifth Meditation really capable of discovering intersubjectivity in the way that Husserl describes, or is such putative discovery (indeed, subjective transformation) already conditioned by a more primitive form of intersubjectivity? This paper investigates two ways in which this kind of “circularity” objection might arise. Firstly, it might be argued that Husserl presupposes an external perspective on one’s own body, a perspective which rationally would have to be correlated with an indeterminate foreign subjectivity. Secondly, the view has been advanced (Zahavi in Husserl and transcendental intersubjectivity: a response to the linguistic-pragmatic critique. Ohio University Press, Athens, OH, 2001b) that horizonal perceptual awareness of another spatio-temporal entity turns out to be essentially intersubjective, on the grounds that awareness of some of an object’s averted aspects commits one to positing the possibility in principle of those averted aspects being available to an indeterminate foreign subjectivity. Objections such as these seem to place the phenomenological enquiry into the encounter with another person at something of a crossroads. On the one hand, they have led some to argue that basic empathy, as Husserl conceives it, must indeed be conditioned by the anonymous constituting influence of a more primitive form of intersubjectivity. On the other hand, the option remains open to seek to defend Husserl’s published position against the charges of circularity. This paper pursues the latter alternative, and argues that, with appropriate clarification, the objections from circularity can be convincingly answered. It will be argued that the key to understanding why the standard Husserlian position can be sustained lies in recognising the centrality of the activity of the imagination as a condition for the possibility of intersubjectivity. (shrink)
This paper argues that, from the perspective of phenomenological philosophy, the study of intersubjectivity is closely tied to questions of the representational mind. It focuses on developmental studies of children's understanding of the human mind, setting out some of the main findings and theoretical explanations. It then takes up Husserl's idea of looking at persons in the 'personal attitude'. Understanding motivational connections among a person's subjective experiences is an essential feature of this attitude. Proposing a unified theoretical interpretation of (...) children's representational achievements, the paper suggests that understanding motivational connections among one's representations requires an ability for reflection that children apply in progressively more refined ways to themselves and others. (shrink)
Heidegger’s doubts concerning the concept of “empathy” are unequivocally proven not only by his general tendency to avoid it, but also by his sharp critique of this term, as presented in both Being and Time and the lectures from the Summer Semester 1925, History of the Concept of Time. However, the concept of empathy is used by Heidegger in a positive, albeit rather allusive fashion, in three consecutive lectures of his early Freiburg period: Basic Problems of Phenomenology, Phenomenology of Intuition (...) and Expression and The Phenomenology of Religious Life. The present paper analyzes these three passages of Heidegger’s early lectures in close detail, revealing their connection to the conceptions of empathy found in the works of both Dilthey and Scheler. Thus it aims to connect Heidegger’s rather idiosyncratic conception of intersubjectivity with some of the discussions on that topic in the phenomenological millieu of the early 1920s. (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)
Behind the rise and fall of intellectual fashions that insist on ‘‘moving beyond’’ Husserl even at the cost of misunderstanding him, there is a growing body of scholarship that attempts to appreciate the scope, subtlety and trajectory of his thought. With her Husserl on Ethics and Intersubjectivity, Janet Donohoe aims to make a contribution to this literature.
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)
With his “discovery” of the phenomenological reduction, Husserl confronted the problem of intersubjectivity: How is the Other constituted? Gustav Shpet, a Russian student of Husserl’s in Göttingen, unlike many others accepted the reduction on some level but, unlike Husserl, did not dwell on the problem. In this essay, we look first at the Russian treatment of intersubjectivity in the immediately preceding years and see that the concern was over the possibility of proving our natural conviction in the Other. (...) We then turn to Husserl’s position circa 1912 with its embryonic conception of empathy as its vehicle into the sphere of the Other’s “ownness.” Finally, we turn to Shpet, who cautiously suggests that Husserl’s division of intuition into two sorts, experiencing and ideal, is insufficient. Affirming Husserl’s claim that each species of being has a correlative cognitive method, Shpet asserts that social being should also have its own method. Shpet recognizes that Husserl does not ascribe originary givenness to what empathy provides, but might Husserl have been wrong about this? Could it be that empathy, properly understood as a third form of intuition, “comprehension,” provides social being originarily and therefore functions in the constitution of the Other analogously to the way experiencing intuition functions in the constitution of physical things? However, comprehension is employed on what the Other presents, namely signs, be they in the form of bodily movements, speech or even writing. In this way, Shpet transforms Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology into a hermeneutic phenomenology. (shrink)
Can we have objective knowledge of the world? Can we understand what is morally right or wrong? Yes, to some extent. This is the answer given by Adam Smith and Edmund Husserl. Both rejected David Hume’s skeptical account of what we can hope to understand. But they held his empirical method in high regard, inquiring into the way we perceive and emotionally experience the world, into the nature and function of human empathy and sympathy and the role of the imagination (...) in processes of intersubjective understanding. The challenge is to overcome the natural constraints of perceptual and emotional experience and reach an agreement that is informed by the facts in the world and the nature of morality. This collection of philosophical essays addresses an audience of Smith- and Husserl scholars as well as everybody interested in theories of objective knowledge and proper morality which are informed by the way we perceive and think and communicate. (shrink)
In this paper I describe the relevance of philosopher Peter Sloterdijk's book Bubbles for social psychology. Bubbles offers the opportunity for the development of what I call a round social psychology. This is in contrast to the flatness characteristic of some of the more influential contemporary varieties of social psychology. Flat social psychology stays close to the ground, and is focused on the coordination of action. Round social psychology describes the atmosphere that surrounds and makes interaction possible in the first (...) place. It requires a theory that links intersubjectivity with spatiality. To describe flat social psychology I analyze the assumptions of three contemporary versions of social psychology: social cognition theory, Goffman's dramaturgy, and Gergen's relational psychology. I then describe in greater detail Sloterdijk's bubble philosophy and the characteristics of round social psychology. (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)
Psychology has been a deductive science where theory and hypotheses precede investigation of new knowledge. Data inform theory which then leads to more refined hypotheses. The recent move toward a cultural psychology calls for an unfurling of this perspective. This involves consideration of an epistemology at the core of anthropology, a shift toward first-person points of view, where ethnography is the inductive method based on a practical philosophy. This paper examines what is at stake for psychology to enter the interpretive (...) social sciences where culturally-constituted subjectivity and intersubjectivity are the objects of investigation. An anthropological imagination is a critical supplement to a multi-method approach in psychology, or an alternative epistemology, that augments knowledge of cultural persons. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
The principal aim of this paper is to analyze the relationship between intersubjectivity and grammar. We argue that intersubjectivity represents, on the one hand, a prerequisite for the development of language as a symbolic system, and therefore also for the development of grammar. Furthermore, we attempt to show that language, and especially grammar, codify intersubjectivity. That is to say, grammatical constructions represent the intersubjective interactions that situated agents maintain in different pragmatic contects. We call this phenomenon the (...) meta-representational capacity of language. Our main object of analysis is the development of the ditransitive construction in the Spanish language. The evolution of this construction makes it clear that there is an important correlation between the degree of complexity of the codified intersubjective interaction and grammatically obligatory nature and the prominence of the grammatical construction that codifies it: the greater the complexity, the greater its obligatoriness, and vice versa. (shrink)
Both theoretical and empirical work in a variety of disciplines has resulted in a recent turn away from Cartesian and Meadian anthropocentrism in the direction of a radical reconsideration of nonhuman animal mind and agency. Central to sociology’s role in envisioning a repopulated social world is the analysis of nonhuman-human social interaction. Because all social action is predicated on certain assumptions regarding the minds of others, a theory of intersubjectivity must be at the core of any such project. It (...) is argued here that the key elements employed in Alfred Schutz’s conceptualization of intersubjectivity among humans are also demonstrated in the routine communicative projects of humans and their companion animals. After presenting a Schutzian theory of intersubjectivity, this article analyzes, from an ethnographic perspective, elements of the everyday lifeworld Rocky—a deaf, paraplegic cat—cohabits with the author and other family members. Through that analysis, the paper demonstrates that the dynamics of everyday interactions through which Rocky actively participates in the creation of meaning and the achievement of understanding is highly consistent with Schutz’s theory of human intersubjectivity. (shrink)
This book draws on Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology, psychology, neuroscience and Buddhist philosophy to explicate Merleau-Ponty’s unwritten ethics. Daly contends that though Merleau-Ponty never developed an ethics per se, there is significant textual evidence that clearly indicates he had the intention to do so. This book highlights the explicit references to ethics that he offers and proposes that these, allied to his ontological commitments, provide the basis for the development of an ethics. In this work Daly shows how Merleau-Ponty’s relational ontology, in (...) which the interdependence of self, other and world is affirmed, offers an entirely new approach to ethics. In contrast to the ‘top-down’ ethics of norms, obligations and prescriptions, Daly maintains that Merleau-Ponty’s ethics is a ‘bottom-up’ ethics which depends on direct insight into our own intersubjective natures, the ‘I’ within the ‘we’ and the ‘we’ within the ‘I’; insight into the real nature of our relation to others and the particularities of the given situation. Merleau-Ponty and the Ethics of Intersubjectivity is an important contribution to the scholarship on the later Merleau-Ponty which will be of interest to graduate students and scholars. Daly offers informed readings of Merleau-Ponty’s texts and the overall approach is both scholarly and innovative. (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...
Whitehead claims there is only one type of individual in the universe—the actual entity—but there are necessarily multiple tokens of this type. This turns out to be paradoxical. Nevertheless, a type of individuality that is necessarily plural because, for each token, relations to other tokens are constitutive is something familiar from ordinary language, everyday politics, and, not least, 19th century German social thought. Whitehead’s actual entity generalizes the notion of species-being we find in Fichte, Feuerbach, and Marx. The rationale for (...) the concept of species-being brings to light important social and political implications of Whitehead’s cosmology. (shrink)
I explore some of the challenges involved in establishing the intersubjective dynamic as the foundation for a normatively charged philosophy of history. I seek in addition to highlight the value of Levinas’ work for the field of recognition studies. Levinas in effect offers a transitional model of recognition between Kojeve and Honneth, and as such his work harbors the potential for addressing some of the difficulties which beset the work of both when it comes to formulating an understanding of recognition (...) which is capable of explaining historical transformation and of serving as a standard for the critique of historical practices. (shrink)
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)
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)