Sarah Pawlett Jackson
University of London
In recent years, work in cognitive science on human subjectivity as 4E has found a significant precedent in, connection with and enrichment from phenomenological understandings of the human person. Correspondingly, both disciplines have shed light on the nature of intersubjectivity in a complementary way. In this paper I highlight an underexplored aspect of phenomenological and 4E understandings of intersubjectivity, namely that these approaches make space for the possibility of properly intersubjective interactions with more than one other person at once. This insight is important, I argue, because the philosophy of intersubjectivity has tended to focus on the self-other dyad as the primary unit of intersubjectivity from which all other forms of intersubjectivity can be extrapolated. Against this, I will argue that multi-person intersubjectivity is possible because of, and not in spite of, the nature and structure of individual subjectivity itself. We find our intersubjective capacity has the possibility of simultaneous engagement with multiple others built in ‘all the way through’, in virtue of being 4E. Despite the emphasis on subjectivity as embodied and worlded in the phenomenological tradition, we find that this ‘dyadic paradigm’ has been prevalent in some of the work of the classic phenomenologists. In this paper I look at the accounts of intersubjectivity offered by Jean-Paul Sartre and Emmanuel Levinas. I outline how – in different ways, with different emphases and to different extents – both Sartre and Levinas embody something of this dyadic paradigm. This, in turn, I argue, highlights an incongruity in each of their accounts on the issue of the other’s existence in the world as 4E. This tension is most stark in Sartre’s case. I will argue that his account of the-other-as-subject explicitly fails to appreciate the other’s subjectivity as 4E. His definitionally dyadic account of ‘the look’ is indicative of this. In Levinas’ case, the issue is more subtle, as he explicitly acknowledges ‘the face’ of the other in materially worlded and embodied terms. Nevertheless, I will argue, Levinas’ account of intersubjectivity, including his account of ‘the Third’, also indicates a version of a dyadic paradigm which runs counter to the logic of a fully 4E appreciation of intersubjectivity. I will argue that minimally there is tension or ambiguity in Levinas’ account on this issue.
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DOI 10.1007/s11097-021-09766-7
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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.
The Practice of Mind: Theory, Simulation or Primary Interaction?Shaun Gallagher - 2001 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 8 (5-7):83-108.
Beyond Empathy: Phenomenological Approaches to Intersubjectivity.Dan Zahavi - 2001 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 8 (5-7):151-167.
You, Me, and We: The Sharing of Emotional Experiences.D. Zahavi - 2015 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 22 (1-2):84-101.

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