Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 267–278 | Cite as

Understanding others, reciprocity, and self-consciousness

  • Katja Crone


The article explores the basic conceptual relationship between social cognition, intersubjectivity and self-consciousness. A much-debated recent approach to social cognition, the so-called interaction theory, is the view that the ability to perceive, understand and interpret the behavior of others relies on interaction in the sense of mutual coordination of the embodied agents involved. It will be shown that this notion of reciprocity is too weak in order to fully account for social understanding. It will be argued that the idea of reciprocity should at least in some cases be conceived of as a stance persons adopt towards each other, which in turn presupposes that they acknowledge each other as self-conscious agents. This view is inspired by an argument originally introduced by Johann Gottlieb Fichte.


Social cognition Reciprocity Intersubjectivity Interaction Self-consciousness Fichte Free agency 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Philosophie und PolitikwissenschaftTechnische Universität DortmundDortmundGermany

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