Heidegger's embodied others

on critiques of the body and "intersubjectivity" in being and time

Meindert E. Peters

pp. 441-458

In this article, I respond to important questions raised by Gallagher and Jacobson (2012) in the field of cognitive science about face-to-face interactions in Heidegger's account of "intersubjectivity" in Being and Time. They have criticized his account for a lack of attention to primary intersubjectivity, or immediate, face-to-face interactions; he favours, they argue, embodied interactions via objects. I argue that the same assumption underlies their argument as did earlier critiques of a lack of an account of the body in Heidegger (e.g. Sartre 1989; Krell 1992); namely that because the body is not explicitly discussed in Being and Time, embodiment, rather than stressing the immediacy of experience, is insufficiently acknowledged in his emphasis on "being-in-the-world". Through placing Gallagher and Jacobson's accounts of intersubjectivity and the body alongside Heidegger's accounts of Mitsein and Leib, this article shows Heidegger's radical position on the body as immersed in a holistic environment, and its reverberations on his account of intersubjectivity. I argue that Dasein's embodied engagement in the world is always one of immediacy and that the body of the other is perceived as "tied into" its context, as well. In so doing, I offer an Heideggerian account of ecstatic involvement which moves away from the distinction between primary and secondary intersubjectivity toward an immediate engagement with objects and people always already "tied into" a context; an account that, through the concept of Fürsorge, includes shifts of attention between objects and people that allow for the ethical distinctions Gallagher and Jacobson are looking for.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s11097-018-9580-0

Full citation:

Peters, M. E. (2019). Heidegger's embodied others: on critiques of the body and "intersubjectivity" in being and time. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18 (2), pp. 441-458.

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