Philosophical writing on what it is for several agents to act together—in other words, what it is for them to engage in “joint intentional action”—often start off by a short list of some paradigm cases of the phenomenon in question, such as two people walking together, two people painting a house together or carrying a sofa together. Another recurring alledged paradigm example, mentioned by Michael Bratman, Margaret Gilbert and Christopher Kutz for example, is that of two (or more) people having a conversation. Philosophers working on joint action rarely elaborate on this particular example though, it from reading this literature, it is unclear in what sense having a conversation is a joint intentional action.
Currently, I am visiting UC, Berkeley as part of my Ph.D. studies. I have been here since August and will leave in December – it is a very short period to establish more profound research ties, but enough to gain inspiration and new perspectives on my Ph.D. project on curiosity. Alva Noë is my faculty sponsor and he has organized a research group, or rather, a research community with Ph.D.’s, postdoc’s, and visiting researchers who are all somehow connected to him.
I do social sciences. By “social” we usually mean a kind of commonplace, something obvious, a premise to think about humans (who are always culturally and socially in-formed) and the (social and cultural) world. Consequently, the “Social” is taken for granted, considered as something very powerful that lays on somewhere in-between individual minds, or that is graspable through the observation of (inter)actions and discourses. Even within subfields that are based on the micro-description of experiences (for instance, according to the work of Goffman or that of Garfinkel), the aim is always already to hunt for some networks of relationships. Inspired by Laurence Kaufmann’s program and interested in the Nature of the We, I have decided to turn the “Social” into an issue by bracketing the assumption of my field and by coming to philosophy, and more specifically to phenomenology, where “social” and, in a minimal way, “intersubjectivity”, are still debated. In other words, my aim was to reconnect with a way of thinking that takes the social dimension of everyone’s life as an enigmatic phenomenon to be explained in order to shed light on the very nature of collective beings. Hence, the Center for Subjectivity Research was undoubtedly the place to visit in order to carry out my project.
Arguably, one of the main challenges to open societies amounts to keeping the freedom of the individual and the social bond between the individuals in balance. Next week, an interdisciplinary conference in Munich will provide ample space for discussions on the topic Solidarity in Open Societies.
The phenomenological tradition treats ego as an extremely complex notion, which is related to temporal dimension, passivity, first-person perspective, and so on. I shall explore these rich insights of the phenomenological tradition (mainly Husserl) on the ego. Undoubtedly, one of the most important contributions of Husserl’s phenomenology is the thorough analysis of the ego. Since Ideas I, where the pure ego is introduced in phenomenology, Husserl continuously develops and deepens his analysis of ego. Then, in Ideas II, he introduces the personal ego and relates it with the pure ego. Finally, he differentiates the ego into two egos, namely primal-ego (Ur-ich) and pre-ego (Vor-ich) in his later period.
In spite of the increasing attention that the we-perspective and shared experiences have gained across different disciplines, the interpersonal foundations of shared experiences have remained, somewhat surprisingly, considerably unexplored in the philosophical literature. The fact that influential accounts of agency address shared agency as a follow-up topic, i.e., mainly against the backdrop of already worked-out accounts of individual agency, seems to have led to a double lacuna: firstly, of varieties of sharing different from shared intentions, and, secondly, of how certain forms of shared agency may build upon more elementary forms of interpersonal engagements, such as joint attention and affective sharing.