Joining the background
habitual sentiments behind we-intentionality
How can the inner structure of we-intentionality be described? The early phenomenological account of Gerda Walther (Zur Ontologie der sozialen Gemeinschaft. In: Jahrbuch für Philosophie und phänomenologische Forschung, vol 6. Niemeyer, Halle, pp 1–158, 1923) offers interesting insights into the nature of human sociality: according to her we-intentionality is embedded in a network of intentional habits a network that shapes individual minds. She claims that the core of community is grounded in a concrete, intentional background that arises through a particular structure of affective intentionality: habitual joining.In Walther's approach, the core of the We is pre-reflexive and non-thematic and it is formed in habits through a web of conscious and unconscious sentiments of joining. This us-background, a non-reducible basic level of community, is a necessary condition for actual we-intentionality. Common intentionality can therefore neither be understood as involving a unique super-individual bearer, nor simply as a habit shared by multiple individuals—it is a web of intentional relations between individuals with which several habits are linked.In Walther's work we find no monological conception of intentionality, but a relational, interpersonal account of mind. A fresh look at her account could free the current debate from old prejudices concerning the phenomenological concept of intentionality. There is no preconstituted subjectivity that joins the community: in habitual joining, subjects and community reciprocally form each other.
Caminada, E. (2014)., Joining the background: habitual sentiments behind we-intentionality, in A. Konzelmann-Ziv & H. B. Schmid (eds.), Institutions, emotions, and group agents, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 195-212.
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