This essay situates Tetsuro Watsuji within contemporary approaches to social cognition. It argues for Watsuji's current relevance, suggesting that his analysis of embodiment and social space puts him in step with some of the concerns driving ongoing treatments of social cognition in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. It is further shown how Watsuji offers a fruitful contribution to this discussion by lending a phenomenologically informed critical perspective. First, some interpretative work is done to explore Watsuji's conception of embodied intersubjectivity. The focus in particular is on Watsuji's conception of what is termed here the "hybrid" body as well as his distinctive treatment of interpersonal spaceâwhat Watsuji terms "betweenness" (aidagara). Next, these notions are connected to current treatments of social cognition within philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Made explicit are several of the ways that Watsuji challenges the core cognitivist and internalist presuppositions behind the Theory of Mind paradigm, and experimental work is drawn from, among other sources, developmental psychology and gesture studies to support Watsuji's alternative characterization of embodied social interaction.
Philosophy East and West – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: May 9, 2013
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