Phenomenology & Sociality: How Extended Normative Perturbations Give Rise to Social Agency

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Although cognitive science has recently asked how human sociality is constituted, there is no clear and consistent account of the emergence of human style social agency. Previously, we have critiqued views based on 'participatory sense-making' by arguing that agency requires a distinctive kind of phenomenology that enables a diachronic social experience. In advancing the positive argument, we link developmental psychology to phenomenological insights by focusing on child-caregiver dynamics around the middle of the second year. Having developed very basic social skills, an infant comes to feel normative perturbances impinging on her in a way that leads to new modes of action. Accordingly, we trace agency and linguistic competencies how these kinds of coordination intermesh. Nascent capabilities for predicating draw on the child’s history of coping with norms and rules that are imposed by caretakers. Developmental events thus transform the child's experience and drive the emergence of social agency. Once the child has successfully dealt with the environment’s normative perturbations she is able to develop the skills of a fully-fledged human social agent.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number67
Pages (from-to)379-398
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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