Hanne De Jaegher


Hanne De Jaegher is a philosopher of mind and cognitive science. She investigates how embodied interaction processes contribute to the various and rich aspects of human subjectivity and intersubjectivity.

Hanne’s work is interdisciplinary and inter-sectorial. One of the application domains is the conception and treatment of autism, and she has extensive contacts with autism experts in the UK, Belgium, Germany, and Spain.

Hanne is deputy Training Manager of the Marie Curie ITN TESIS: Towards an Embodied Science of InterSubjectivity, at the Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science at the University of the Basque Country, Donostia. From 2010-2012, she held a Marie Curie IEF, and previous to that, she was postdoc in a Marie Curie network investigating disorders and coherence of the embodied self, at the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Heidelberg, Germany. Hanne received her DPhil from the School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences at the University of Sussex, UK, in 2007.

More on her work can be found here.

As regards the workshop, Hanne is very interested in advancing on the ethical and practical dimensions of enactive approaches to intersubjectivity, by investigating them together with, and receiving input from, the other experts at the meeting. More precise questions at the workshop, for sure!

Presentation title: Participatory sense-making and heteronomies

Abstract: Social cognition research has begun to shift away from a focus on the individual mind and towards embodied and participatory aspects of social understanding. In this talk, we discuss the enactive concept of participatory sense-making. It starts from the idea that embodied, situated action is basic to how we make sense of the world, and the findings that people in interaction coordinate their actions with each other. If this is true, then people can, literally, participate in each other’s sense-making: in coordinating embodied activity, people understand each other and the world together, by jointly forming and transforming their intentions.

We argue that the interaction process can take on a form of autonomy, as self-sustaining patterns of embodied coordination. This allows us to reframe the problem of social cognition as that of how meaning is generated and transformed in the interplay between the unfolding interaction process and the individuals engaged in it. We show that interactive processes are more than a context for social cognition: they can complement and even replace individual mechanisms. According to this view, all social interactions involve an element of heteronomy, which is  related to the autonomy of others, but also to the autonomy of the interaction process as a dynamical self-sustaining pattern. To interact is to manage the primordial tension between personal intentions and interactive normativity.