Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 187-212

First online:

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

  • Shaun GallagherAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, University of MemphisSchool of Humanities, University of Hertfordshire Email author 

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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.