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Embodiment, Enaction, and CultureInvestigating the Constitution of the Shared World$
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Christoph Durt, Thomas Fuchs, and Christian Tewes

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035552

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035552.001.0001

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The Touched Self: Psychological and Philosophical Perspectives on Proximal Intersubjectivity and the Self

The Touched Self: Psychological and Philosophical Perspectives on Proximal Intersubjectivity and the Self

Chapter:
(p.173) 8 The Touched Self: Psychological and Philosophical Perspectives on Proximal Intersubjectivity and the Self
Source:
Embodiment, Enaction, and Culture
Author(s):

Anna Ciaunica

Aikaterini Fotopoulou

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262035552.003.0009

Is minimal selfhood a build-in feature of our experiential life (Gallagher 2005; Zahavi 2005, 2014; Legrand 2006) or a later socio-culturally determined acquisition, emerging in the process of social exchanges and mutual interactions (Fonagy et al. 2004; Prinz 2012; Schmid 2014)? This chapter, building mainly on empirical research on affective touch and interoception, argues in favor of a reconceptualization of minimal selfhood that surpasses such debates, and their tacitly “detached,” visuo-spatial models of selfhood and otherness. Instead, the relational origins of the self are traced on fundamental principles and regularities of the human embodied condition, such as the amodal properties that govern the organization of sensorimotor signals into distinct perceptual experiences. Interactive experiences with effects on “within” and “on” the physical boundaries of the body (e.g., skin-to-skin touch) are necessary for such organization in early infancy when the motor system is not as yet developed. Therefore, an experiencing subject is not primarily understood as facing another subject “there.” Instead, the minimal self is by necessity co-constituted by other bodies in physical contact and proximal interaction.

Keywords:   Self, Awareness, social cognition, touch, interoception, intersubjectivity, embodiment, Minimal self, experiential minimalism, social constructivism

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