Aug 30, 2016
Visiting Speaker September 9 - Dr. James Dow
Dr. James Dow, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, will be giving a talk in our department on September 9. His talk, titled “On the Awareness of Joint Agency: The Abandonment Account of the Feelings of Acting Together,” will occur from 2-4pm in McCain Hall, Room 185. His abstract is as follows:
Is there a distinctive account of the phenomenology of joint agency? Can accounts of the phenomenology of individual agency be extended to account for the experience of joint agency? Current accounts concerning the phenomenology of joint agency (Elisabeth Pacherie 2011; 2013 and Deborah Tollefsen 2014, Salmela and Nagatsu 2015) suggest that the experience of subjects engaging in joint actions involves an occurrent positive phenomenology of joint coordinative control and the experience is accounted for in terms of a model used for the sense of individual agency. In this paper, I argue against the control congruence account of the phenomenology of joint agency by focusing first on the question about whether there is an occurrent positive phenomenology of joint agency and second on the theoretical framework that is presupposed by the control congruence account. I critique three paths to an argument for an occurrent positive phenomenology of joint agency: 1) the what-it’s-like approach— “you know it if and when you feel it”— method of arriving at the experience; 2) the individual-joint contrast method— the method that Pacherie 2011; 2013 and Tollefsen 2014 employ; 3) the coordinative agency-joint agency method — an account in terms of shared positively-valenced emotions. In place of the control congruence account of the experience of joint agency, I argue for an alternative account of the phenomenology of joint agency— the abandonment account based in empirical research in psychology and neuroscience. According to the abandonment account, the negative dispositional phenomenology of the departure of the other— the feeling of abandonment of a we-intention is significant to the awareness of joint agency. The experience is accounted for in terms of participant reactive attitudes towards the other because of a breaking of a joint minimal commitment to perform the shared cooperative activity. In the conclusion, I outline how the abandonment account can be extended to experts, children, and non-human animals.
We hope to see you there!