Intersubjectivity, Mimetic Schemas and the Emergence of Language

Zlatev Jordan
Language of the article : English
DOI: 10.3406/intel.2007.1281
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In this article I argue that intersubjectivity constitutes an essential characteristic of the human mind. First, I explicate what this means, contrasting intersubjectivity with the more common approach to social cognition based on the concept of “theory of mind”. Furthermore, I propose a particular version of the thesis of the primacy of the shared mind based on the notion of bodily mimesis: a capacity to use our bodies in feeling the emotions of others, understanding their intentions, and eventually understanding and expressing communicative intentions. Bodily mimesis first takes place between people (and to a lesser degree, other higher social animals like apes and dolphins) but is gradually internalized as mimetic schemas (Zlatev 2005, 2007): preverbal concepts which possess a number of properties which can help explain the emergence of language as a conventional-normative semiotic system. In a dialectical fashion, intersubjectivity serves both as a prerequisite for its emergence, and is further developed by it, making human beings the quintessentially “intersubjective species”. Finally, I suggest a partially novel approach to explaining autism.

Pour citer cet article :

Zlatev Jordan (2007/2-3). Intersubjectivity, Mimetic Schemas and the Emergence of Language. In Clément Fabrice & Kaufmann Laurence (Eds), Culture and Society : Some Viewpoints of Cognitive Scientists, Intellectica, 46-47, (pp.123-152), DOI: 10.3406/intel.2007.1281.