Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10216/132247
Author(s): Ciaunica, Anna
Title: The 'meeting of bodies': empathy and basic forms of shared experiences
Issue Date: 2019
Abstract: In recent years there has been an increasing focus on a crucial aspect of the 'meeting of minds' problem (Gallotti and Frith, Trends Cogn Sci 17(4):160-165, 2013), namely the ability that human beings have for sharing different types of mental states such as emotions, intentions, and perceptual experiences. In this paper I examine what counts as basic forms of 'shared experiences' and focus on a relatively overlooked aspect of human embodiment, namely the fact that we start our journey into our experiential life within the experiencing body of a second person, i.e. our mothers. For example, Zahavi and Rochat (Consciousness Cogn 36:543-553, 2015) recently draw on phenomenological insights and developmental studies in order to support the idea that empathy (with its preservation of self-other differentiation) must be considered a central precondition for experiential sharing. Here I suggest that the defence of the primacy of empathy over experiential sharing might reveal how we are often mislead in our understanding of more basic forms of shared experiences. I argue that while previous approaches mainly defined experiential sharing by using the case of visual experience as a paradigmatic example of 'togetherness' (e.g. face-to-face encounters, watching a movie together (Zahavi, Self and other: exploring subjectivity, empathy and shame, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014), it is fruitful to consider the case of pregnancy and intersubjective touch in early infancy (skin-to-skin encounters) as a more basic model of experiential sharing in general. I conclude that shared experiences are phenomena emerging first and foremost from a 'meeting of bodies' rather than of minds and as such they precede rather than presuppose empathetic abilities.
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10216/132247
Document Type: Artigo em Revista Científica Internacional
Rights: restrictedAccess
Appears in Collections:FLUP - Artigo em Revista Científica Internacional

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