Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 187–212

In Defense of Phenomenological Approaches to Social Cognition: Interacting with the Critics


    • Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Memphis
    • School of HumanitiesUniversity of Hertfordshire

DOI: 10.1007/s13164-011-0080-1

Cite this article as:
Gallagher, S. Rev.Phil.Psych. (2012) 3: 187. doi:10.1007/s13164-011-0080-1


I clarify recently developed phenomenological approaches to social cognition. These are approaches that, drawing on developmental science, social neuroscience, and dynamic systems theory, emphasize the involvement of embodied and enactive processes together with communicative and narrative practices in contexts of intersubjective understanding. I review some of the evidence that supports these approaches. I consider a variety of criticisms leveled against them, and defend the role of phenomenology in the explanation of social cognition. Finally, I show how these phenomenological approaches can solve the “starting problem” of social cognition.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011