Monday, June 25, 2012

Baby's Intercorporeality

While reading "The Philosophical Baby" by Alison Gopnik, I found the following passage on an interesting experiment.

The psychologist Susan Johnson endowed a very clearly nonhuman thing, a sort of brown robotic blob, with the ability to react contingently to a baby. When the baby made a noise, the blob chirped, and when the baby moved, the blob lit up, and so forth. A second identical blob made the same chirps and lit up the same way but did so in a way that was entirely unrelated to what the baby did. The events were the same, but the statistical relations between the events were different---the chirps were correlated with the babies’ actions in one case but not the other.
   Then each blob turned so that one end of it faced away from the baby and toward an object. The babies turned to follow the "gaze" of the reactive blob but not the unreactive blob. They seemed to think that the reactive blob could see. And the babies babbled and gestured more at the blob that interacted with them than at the blob that didn't.
[Gopnik, A. (2009). The Philosophical Baby. New York: Picador, p.98.]

It seems that the babies tend to differentiate people and things, based on the possibility of interaction. The baby was able to establish the circular relation of interaction with the 'reactive' blob, but not with the 'unreactive' blob. The baby acts and the blob reacts, then the baby reacts and the blob reacts again.... Here, the perception of the blob's action solicits the baby's action, and vice versa. Clearly, there is the intercorporeality between the baby and the 'active' blob.

Differentiating the animated beings from things in general is a question whether we are able to establish the intercorporeal relation with them. It's not a question whether they have the minds or not.

Monday, June 4, 2012

ISTP 2013

A few days ago I received the information on the ISTP conference. They accept proposals for discussion frames (symposia, workshops, etc.) until July 30th. If there is anyone who wish to make a proposal with me, please e-mail me!


C a l l   f o r   P a p e r s


The International Society for Theoretical Psychology (ISTP)
will hold its 15th Biennial conference in Santiago, Chile.

Dates: May 3-7, 2013
The conference will be hosted by two universities in Santiago, Chile:
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Universidad Alberto Hurtado.

Keynote speakers
Eugene Matusov (University of Delaware)
Pablo Fernández Christlieb (UNAM)

Deadline for submission of discussion frames: July 30th, 2012.
Deadline for submission of presentation proposals: November 30th.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Susan Stuart's "Enkinaesthesia" is a very attractive notion. Let's check the outline of her idea.

Enkinaesthesia emphasizes two things: (i) the neuromuscular dynamics of the agent, including the givenness and ownership of its experience, and (ii) the entwined, blended and situated co-affective feeling of the presence of the other(s), agential (for example, human, horse, cat, beetle) and non-agential (for example, cup, bed, apple, paper) and, where appropriate, the anticipated arc of the other's action or movement, including, again where appropriate, the other's intentionality. When the 'other' is also a sensing and experiencing agent it is their - in this case, the pair's - affective intentional reciprocity, their folding, enfolding, and unfolding, which co-constitutes the conscious relation and the experientially recursive temporal dynamics that lead to the formation and maintenance of the deep integral enkinaesthetic structures and melodies which bind us together, even when they pull us apart. Such deeply felt enkinaesthetic melodies emphasize the dialogical nature of the backgrounded feeling of being.
[Stuart, S (2012). Enkinaesthsia: the essential sensuous background for co-agency. In Z. Radman. (Ed.), Knowing without Thinking, Palgrave Macmillan, p.167]

The self and the other has its own agency respectively, however, there is the background dimension that makes each agency possible. This dimension is mainly kinaesthetic and affective, since we mutually understand the intentionality of actions through our motor capacity. Enkinaesthesia is so-called and opposed to the word ‘Interkinaesthesia’ because it emphasizes the direct and non-dual experience of the other.

As Stuart also recognizes, Husserl’s theory of the Other, especially the theory of “Pairing” (Paarung), tried to describe that kind of dimension but his attempt was not enough successful.