Primary Intersubjectivity: Empathy, Affective Reversibility, 'Self-affection' and the Primordial 'We'

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Primary_intersubjectivity.pdf438.83 kBAdobe PDFDownload
Title: Primary Intersubjectivity: Empathy, Affective Reversibility, 'Self-affection' and the Primordial 'We'
Authors: Daly, Anya
Permanent link:
Date: Apr-2014
Online since: 2016-12-09T16:25:14Z
Abstract: The arguments advanced in this paper are the following. Firstly, that just as Trevarthen's three subjective/intersubjective levels, primary, secondary, and tertiary, mapped out different modes of access, so too response is similarly structured, from direct primordial responsiveness, to that informed by shared pragmatic concerns and narrative contexts, to that which demands the distantiation afforded by representation. Secondly, I propose that empathy is an essential mode of intentionality, integral to the primary level of subjectivity/intersubjectivity, which is crucial to our survival as individuals and as a species. Further to this last point, I argue that empathy is not derived on the basis of intersubjectivity, nor does it merely disclose intersubjectivity, rather it is constitutive of intersubjectivity at the primary level. Empathy is a direct, irreducible intentionality separable in thought from the other primary intentional modes of perception, rationality, memory and imagination, but co-arising with these. In regard to the inter-personal level, the concrete relations with others, primary empathy is both the ground for the possibility of the secondary manifestations—pity, sympathy, perspective taking, etc., and motivates them. Thirdly, it is the movement in the core of subjectivity initially generated by shifting attention between the 'I' and 'we' perspectives and later 'solidified' through affect to become shifting identification, which opens up the intersubjective domain. So we can affirm that we are not only born into sociality but our sociality goes to the roots of our being as Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty have claimed.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer
Journal: Topoi
Volume: 33
Issue: 1
Start page: 227
End page: 241
Copyright (published version): 2013 Springer
Keywords: IntersubjectivityMerleau-PontyEmpathyReversibilityThe primordial 'we'Social cognition
DOI: 10.1007/s11245-013-9206-7
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Philosophy Research Collection

Show full item record

Citations 50

Last Week
Last month
checked on Feb 20, 2019

Download(s) 50

checked on May 25, 2018

Google ScholarTM



This item is available under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland. No item may be reproduced for commercial purposes. For other possible restrictions on use please refer to the publisher's URL where this is made available, or to notes contained in the item itself. Other terms may apply.