Mutual Gaze and Intersubjectivity

  • Beata Stawarska


In this paper I will address the role of mutual gaze in social cognition. The exposition will run in two steps. First, I propose to examine some recent studies of joint visual attention in order to substantiate the view that social cognition is operative in infancy prior to the emergence of theoretical skills required to make judgements about other people’s states of mind. Such social cognition does not depend on intellectual procedures but rather on the communicative potential inherent in human bodies, for example, the ability to directly engage with others via mutual gaze. This view of sociality as dependent on bodily practices is broadly consistent with the phenomenological philosophy of Merleau-Ponty, which I propose to address second. Specifically, I will examine vision in the context of reversible dynamics which Merleau-Ponty believes regulate intercorporeal relations. This will allow me to expose some inner difficulties within Merleau-Ponty’s position as well as to point out the ways of resolving them by means of combined insights from developmental psychology and the analyses of interpersonal connectedness drawn from the dialogic tradition in philosophy.


Social Cognition Person Pronoun False Belief Task Autistic Individual Social Observation 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beata Stawarska
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA

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