Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Husserl's theory of the Other (4)

The other's body enters into my perceptual field. I perceive the world from 'here', where my body is, and 'there' I perceive the other's body paired to mine. Through pairing association, I know that it is a living body (Leib) like mine. I also know that my 'self' is always given with the mode 'here' and cannot be 'there', where the other Leib is. Hence the 'self' being 'there' is not myself but the other self. Husserl says:

# I do not apperceive the other ego simply as a duplicate of myself and accordingly as having my original sphere or one completely like mine....I apperceive him as having spatial modes of appearance like those I should have if I should go over there and be where he is.
[Husserl, E (1950/1988). Cartesian Meditation. (trans.) D. Cairns. London: Kluwer Academic. p.117.]

# My own ego however, the ego given in constant self-perception, is actual now with the content belonging to his Here. Therefore an ego is appresented, as other than mine. [p.119]

'Here' exists my own self, and 'There' exists the other self. The body being 'There' acts in the manner that I am acquainted with. It walks on the ground with her legs, looks around with her eyes, touches things with her hands. The other self firstly appears to me as something that controls her bodily movements in the same manner I do. Though I cannot directly reach the other self, her existence is verified through her behaviors.

Based on this fact, the other's mind is understood through empathy (Einfühlung). Mental processes such as anger or joy are also showed in the behaviors of the other.

# It is quite comprehensible that, as a further consequence, an "empathizing" of definite contents belonging to the "higher psychic sphere" arises. Such contents too are indicated somatically and in the conduct of the organism toward the outside world --- for example: as the outward conduct of someone who is angry or cheerful, which I easily understand from my own conduct under similar circumstances. [p.120]

What Husserl claims in this passage apparently sounds similar to the simulation theory of mind. He is saying that we understand the other's mind through inner simulation based on our own experiences.