Embodied Cognition at the Crossroads of
Philosophy, Linguistics, Psychology and Artificial Intelligence

May 13-15, 2021, Cluj-Napoca, ROMANIA

Section 6B


6B: Enactivist approaches in psychology, philosophy and other fields



Friday 14/5, 14:50-15:50



Kata Dóra Kiss

Title: The Role of Intersubjectivity in the Field of Psychotherapy
Abstract: The presentation discusses how intersubjectivity could raise embodied emotions in psychotherapeutic spaces. Intersubjectivity is one of the most important concepts of the phenomenological school of thought. The approach assumes that there is no subjectivity without an intentional object and vice versa. Intersubjectivity has a central role in psy-sciences as well. Most of the branches of psychology agree that the self is constituted by its relations, however, there is much less consensus on how decisive this relation is. Therefore, the question of intersubjectivity has become the question of how we conceive humans: as biological or as social beings. Psy-sciences have never had one coherent and consensual scientific frame, although nowadays natural scientific discourse is the most paradigmatic which prioritizes biological explanations over socio-cultural accounts. For this approach, the fundamental unit of the examination is individuality, the psychic structure as a closed system where mental processes are taking place. Mainstream clinical practices rely on this paradigm as it could produce a comprehensive empirical knowledge. This framework, however, implicitly formulate a normative ideal on how human beings should function. In cognitive science or universal diagnostic systems, there is an implicit ideal on how our cognition or psyche has to work. This unreflected ideal could raise the risk of normalization. However, the notion of normality is a protean category that is culturally determined and very changeable in time and space. The presentation argues that those therapeutic forms that are based on intersubjectivity could avoid the menace of normalization. These approaches prioritize the complex cultural, social and family matrix in which human experiences are formed. It implies that our self, traits, and attitudes unfolding through our connections and bonds from early childhood. The relational school of psychoanalysis does not accept the myth of the isolated mind, but it emphasizes our embeddedness in the web of relations. Budapest School, British object-relations theory, intersubjective psychoanalysis or relational psychoanalysis are assuming that psychotherapy is first and foremost an interpersonal event between two people. This intersubjective relation is the central element of the healing process. Psychological events are never just functions of inner structures and forces but always bring about by interactions with others. Consequently, therapeutic space is an open-ended plane of transactions. Transference and counter-transference, occur in the therapy, create a dialectical field where past emotions and traumas are re-enacted and embodied in the two-person context. Mental processes are “embodied” when an incomplete but cognitively productive re-experience is produced in the brain as if the individual were in the very situation, the very emotional state, or with the very object of thought. Memories from the past or specific associations cannot spring automatically but because of the presence of the other person. The phenomenological approach would be helpful for professionals to understand in-depth the importance of the embodied emotions that could raise by the physical contact. The two main topics of the presentation are the connection between the phenomenological intersubjectivity and the relational approaches of psychoanalysis; and the importance of intersubjectivist approaches and embodied emotions in psychological healing.


Mindaugas Briedis

Affiliation: Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania
Title: Phenomenological Ethnography of Radiology: Enactive and Intersubjective Aspects
Abstract:The paper is based on research conducted at a radiology department in the USA. It is concerned with the “radiologist at work,” i.e. the affective and intersubjective ground for her individual diagnostic intentions and personalized strategies of the enaction of diagnostically relevant experiences via imaging technology. The method of research includes “enactive proofs”—observations and analysis of the externalization of a radiologist’s professional memory through their interaction with medical imaging technology and other practitioners in the field. The findings of this research have much to offer to both philosophy and radiological praxis. While the observations strongly support the development of enactive phenomenology, critique of representationalism, primacy of inference in cognition, and shared intentions, they also provide insight into concrete operations in coping with radiology’s paraphernalia, habituality, the origin of mistakes, multilayered communication, and improving professional practice. Finally, through the prism of phenomenological ethnography, we can raise anew some crucial philosophical and social questions, such as “How does something new enter into experience and/or praxis?”




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