Neurophilosophy LunchTime Seminar: Matt Bower - 26 November 2013
Thursday 22 October 2013, 12:30
room: aula direzione del dipartimento
title: Intentions are explanations, not brain states
What Dan Zahavi has dubbed “open intersubjectivity” or, roughly, the basic interpersonal character of perceptual experience as such, is a genuine phenomenon in need of critique and further exploration. Since it is a notion whose roots lay in Husserl’s phenomenology, I begin my treatment of it 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 (Einfühlung) 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, taking into account how infants learn about the world from others in secondary intersubjectivity and through natural pedagogy. Lastly, the paper closes by showing how the discussion of infant development explains the emergence of the phenomenon of open intersubjectivity and clarifying the difference between the result of my analysis and Zahavi's view.