The Life & Mind Seminar Network

Seminar #43: Social understanding through direct perception? Yes, by interacting

Posted in Seminars by Tom Froese on November 20, 2008

We will have the next Life and Mind seminar on Wednesday, the 26th Nov. 2008, 16:30-18:00, Room Pev. 1 2A03.

For this seminar we are pleased to have Hanne De Jaegher talk to us about some of the work she has been doing since she graduated from Sussex last year. Here is the title and abstract of the paper:

Social understanding through direct perception? Yes, by interacting

Hanne De Jaegher

Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Psychiatry
Ruprecht Karls University, Heidelberg

Visiting Research Fellow, CCNR,
University of Sussex

In this seminar I’d like to discuss a paper I recently wrote on Shaun Gallagher’s paper on Direct Perception idea (Gallagher 2008, Consciousness and Cognition). In it, I show that direct perception is in danger of being appropriated by the very cognitivist accounts criticised by Gallagher (theory theory and simulation theory). Then I argue that the experiential directness of perception in social situations can be understood only in the context of the role of the interaction process in social cognition. I elaborate on the role of social interaction with a discussion of participatory sense-making to show that direct perception, rather than being a perception enriched by mainly individual capacities, can be best understood as an interactional phenomenon.

The paper is forthcoming in Consciousness and Cognition. For the revised draft, see my website:


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