Brinck I., Reddy V. & Zahavi D. (2017) The primacy of the “we”? In: Durt C., Fuchs T. & Tewes C. (eds.) Embodiment, enaction, and culture: Investigating the constitution of the shared world. MIT Press, Cambridge MA: 131–147. https://cepa.info/5976
Excerpt: The capacity to engage in collective intentionality is a key aspect of human sociality. Social coordination might not be distinctive of humans – various nonhuman animals engage in forms of cooperative behavior (e.g., hunting together) – but humans seem to possess a specific capacity for intentionality that enables them to constitute forms of social reality far exceeding anything that can be achieved even by nonhuman primates. During the past few decades, collective intentionality has been discussed under various labels in a number of empirical disciplines including social, cognitive, and developmental psychology, economics, sociology, political science, anthropology, ethology, and the social neurosciences. Despite all this work, however, many foundational issues remain controversial and unresolved. In particular, it is by no means clear exactly how to characterize the nature, structure, and diversity of the we to which intentions, beliefs, emotions, and actions are often attributed. Is the we or we-perspective independent of, and perhaps even prior to, individual subjectivity, or is it a developmental achievement that has a firstand second-person-singular perspective as its necessary precondition? Is it something that should be ascribed to a single owner, or does it perhaps have plural ownership? Is the we a single thing, or is there a plurality of types of we?
Gallagher S. & Zahavi D. (2012) The phenomenological mind. Routledge, London. https://cepa.info/4356
Gallagher S. & Zahavi D. (2014) Primal impression and enactive perception. In: Arstila V. & Lloyd D. (eds.) Subjective time: The philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience of temporality. MIT Press, Cambridge MA: 83–100. https://cepa.info/4374
Philosophers and cognitive scientists have recently argued that perception is enactive (e.g., Varela, Thompson, & Rosch 1991; Noe, 2004; Di Paolo, 2009) 1 To put it simply, perception is action-oriented. When I perceive something, I perceive it as actionable. That is, I perceive it as something I can reach, or not; something I can pick up, or not; something I can hammer with, or not, and so forth. Such affordances (Gibson, 1977, 1979) for potential actions (even if I am not planning to take action) shape the way that I actually perceive the world. One can find the roots of this kind of approach in the pragmatists (e.g., Dewey, 1896), but also in phenomenologists like Edmund Husser!, Martin Heidegger, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Merleau-Ponty (1962) is most often cited in this regard, but Merleau-Ponty himself points back to Husserl’s analysis of the “I can” in Jdeen II (Husser! 1952), and to his analysis of the correlation between kinesthesia and perception (1973b; see Zahavi, 1994 and Gallagher & Zahavi, 2008 for further discussion) With this enactive view in mind, we revisit Husserl’s account of time-consciousness. In his analysis, the very basic temporal structure, protention-primal impression-retention, is said to characterize perception, as the most basic form of cognition as well as consciousness in general. As such, the temporal structure of perceptual consciousness should in some significant way reflect or enable its enactive character. Our question is this: if perception is enactive, then at a minimum, shouldn’t its temporal structure be such that it allows for that enactive character? In the first part of this essay, we provide a brief account of Husserl’s classical analysis. We then proceed to focus on the concept of primal impression by considering various objections that have been raised by Jacques Derrida and Michel Henry, who basically argue in opposite directions. Derrida emphasizes the relationality of time-consciousness and downplays the importance of the primal impression, whereas Henry emphasizes the irrelationality of time-consciousness and downplays the importance of protention and retention. In a further step, we consider some of Husserl’s later manuscripts on time, where he revises his original privileging of the primal impression. In the final section, we turn to the question of an enactive temporal structure.
Grünbaum T. & Zahavi D. (2013) Varieties of self-awareness. In: Fulford K. W. M., Davies M., Gipps R. G. T., Graham G., Sadler J. Z., Stanghellini G. & Thornton T. (eds.) The Oxford handbook of philosophy and psychiatry. Oxford University Press, Oxford: 221–239. https://cepa.info/7365
In this chapter, we argue that explicit (refl ective) self-conscious thinking is founded on an implicit (pre-refl ective) form of self-awareness built into the very structure of phenomenal consciousness. In broad strokes, our argument is that a theory denying the existence of pre-refl ective or minimal self-awareness has diffi culties explaining a number of essential features of explicit fi rst-person self-reference, and that this will impede a proper understanding of certain types of psychopathology.
León F. & Zahavi D. (2016) Phenomenology of experiential sharing: The contribution of Schutz and Walther. In: Salice A. & Schmid H. B. (eds.) The phenomenological approach to social reality: History. concepts, problems. Springer: 219–234.
The chapter explores the topic of experiential sharing by drawing on the early contributions of the phenomenologists Alfred Schutz and Gerda Walther. It is argued that both Schutz and Walther support, from complementary perspectives, an approach to experiential sharing that has tended to be overlooked in current debates. This approach highlights specific experiential interrelations taking place among individuals who are jointly engaged and located in a common environment, and situates this type of sharing within a broader and richer spectrum of sharing phenomena. Whereas Schutz’ route to the sharing of experiences describes the latter as a pre-reflective interlocking of individual streams of experiences, arising from a reciprocal Thou-orientation, Walther provides a textured account of different types of sharing and correlated forms of communities.
Excerpt: One of the perpetual problems in Husserl-scholarship concerns the clarification of Husserl’s notion of constitution, especially its bearing on the realism- idealism controversy. The dominant tendency among Husserl’s many critics has been to interpret constitution as a creative activity, thus accusing Husserl of an untenable idealism. Among philosophers more favourably disposed towards Husserlian phenomenology one often finds this critique rebutted in one (or both) of the following ways: Either it is maintained that constitution is in reality merely a matter of epistemic restoration (thus being fully compatible with a realism), or it is argued that the dimension disclosed by the transcendental reduction and constituted by transcendental subjectivity is a dimension of meaning; not of being. The following paper will attempt to refute the above mentioned interpretations, presenting an alternative clarification of some of the formal elements in Husserl’s transcendental concept of constitution, by way of an explication of the late Husserl’s view on the relationship between world and subjectivity. An explication eventually making it apparent, that Husserl’s concept of constitution entails reflections much more in line with the views espoused by later phenomenologists, such as Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, than is normally assumed by his critics. In order to situate these reflections my exposé will start by recapitulating some of the main ideas in Husserl’s transcendental-phenomenological project – focusing on the notion of reduction. This is essential for a precise estimation of Husserl’s overall aim, and I believe that a correct comprehension of his transcendental concept of constitution will only be possible on this background.
Zahavi D. (2001) Beyond empathy: Phenomenological approaches to intersubjectivity. Journal of Consciousness Studies 8(5–7): 151–167.
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.
Zahavi D. (2002) First-person thoughts and embodied self-awareness: Some reflections on the relation between recent analytical philosophy and phenomenology. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 1: 7–26.
The article examines some of the main theses about self-awareness developed in recent analytic philosophy of mind (especially the work of Bermúdez), and points to a number of striking overlaps between these accounts and the ones to be found in phenomenology. Given the real risk of unintended repetitions, it is argued that it would be counterproductive for philosophy of mind to ignore already existing resources, and that both analytical philosophy and phenomenology would profit from a more open exchange.
Zahavi D. (2004) Phenomenology and the project of naturalization. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 3(4): 331–347. https://cepa.info/2375
In recent years, more and more people have started talking about the necessity of reconciling phenomenology with the project of naturalization. Is it possible to bridge the gap between phenomenological analyses and naturalistic models of consciousness? Is it possible to naturalize phenomenology? Given the transcendental philosophically motivated anti-naturalism found in many phenomenologists such a naturalization proposal might seem doomed from the very start, but in this paper I will examine and evaluate some possible alternatives.
The analyses of the mind–world relation offered by transcendental idealists such as Husserl have often been dismissed with the argument that they remain committed to an outdated form of internalism. The first move in this paper will be to argue that there is a tight link between Husserl’s transcendental idealism and what has been called phenomenological externalism, and that Husserl’s endorsement of the former commits him to a version of the latter. Secondly, it will be shown that key elements in Husserl’s transcendental idealism, including his rejection of representationalism and metaphysical realism, is shared with a number of prominent contemporary defenders of an externalist view on the mind. Ultimately, however, it will be suggested that the very alternative between internalism and externalism – an alternative based on the division between inner and outer – might be inapplicable when it comes to phenomenological conceptions of the mind–world relation.