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How We Affect Each Other: Michel Henry's 'Pathos-With' and the Enactive Approach to Intersubjectivity

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What makes it possible to affect one another, to move and be moved by another person? Why do some of our encounters transform us? The experience of moving one another points to the inter-affective in intersubjectivity. Inter-affection is hard to account for under a cognitivist banner, and has not received much attention in embodied work on intersubjectivity. I propose that understanding inter-affection needs a combination of insights into self-affection, embodiment, and interaction processes. I start from Michel Henry's radically immanent idea of self-affection, and bring it into a contrastive dialogue with the enactive concepts of autonomy and (participatory) sense-making. I suggest that the latter ideas can open up Henry's idea of self-affection to inter-affection (something he aimed to do, but did not quite manage) and that, in turn, Henry's work can provide insights into underexplored elements of intersubjectivity, such as its ineffable and mysterious aspects, and erotic encounters
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Keywords: Michel Henry; affect; enaction; ineffability; inter-affection; interactive experience; intersubjectivity; participatory sense-making; self-affection; sexuality; social interaction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: IAS-Research Centre for Life, Mind, and Society, Dept. of Logic and Philosophy of Science, University of the Basque Country, San Sebasti├ín, Spain; Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics, and Centre for Research in Cognitive Science, School of Life Sciences, Dept. of Informatics, University of Sussex, Brighton, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2015

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