What is Intersubjectivity in Philosophy

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Intersubjectivity is a concept in philosophy that refers to the shared experience of reality between two or more individuals.

It is the ability to understand and share the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of others. Intersubjectivity is essential for communication, cooperation, and social interaction.

The term was first coined by the German philosopher Edmund Husserl (1859-1938). Husserl argued that intersubjectivity is a fundamental feature of human experience. He believed that we can only understand the world through our interactions with others. Our experiences of the world are always mediated by our social relationships.

Intersubjectivity has been explored by a number of other philosophers, including Maurice Merleau-Ponty, George Herbert Mead, and Charles Taylor. These philosophers have argued that intersubjectivity is essential for our understanding of the self, the mind, and the nature of reality.

In psychology, It is often used to refer to the shared understanding of emotions and intentions between two or more individuals. This shared understanding is essential for communication and cooperation. For example, when we see someone smiling, we can infer that they are happy. This inference is based on our shared understanding of the meaning of smiling.

Intersubjectivity is also important in sociology. Sociologists use the term intersubjectivity to refer to the shared understanding of social norms and conventions. This shared understanding allows us to interact with each other in a meaningful way. For example, we know that it is rude to interrupt someone when they are speaking. This knowledge is based on our shared understanding of the social norm of turn-taking.

A complex and important concept. It is essential for our understanding of the self, the mind, and the nature of reality. It is also essential for our ability to communicate, cooperate, and interact with others.

Here are some examples of intersubjectivity:

  • Two people looking at a painting and sharing their thoughts and feelings about it.
  • Two friends talk about a shared experience, such as a vacation or a concert.
  • A parent and child play together and understand each other’s intentions.
  • A group of people working together on a project and coordinating their efforts.

It is a fundamental aspect of human experience. It allows us to connect with others and share our lives with them. It is essential for our ability to understand the world and to make sense of our own experiences.

Here below is a short video explaining the same.

What is Intersubjectivity

Image credit

Museo de Arte de Ponce, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons