Gestalt structures in multi-person intersubjectivity

Pawlett Jackson, Sarah (2021). Gestalt structures in multi-person intersubjectivity. Synthese, 198 pp. 2365–2382.



In this paper I argue that there are gestalt principles underlying intersubjective interactions and that this means that intersubjective ‘units’, can be recognised as unified gestalt wholes. The nub of the claim is that interactions within a ‘plural subject’ can be perceived by others outside this plural subject. Framed from the first-person perspective: I am able to recognise intersubjective interactions between multiple others who are not me. I argue that the terminology of gestalt structures is helpful in framing and understanding the non-reducible make-up of these relational units. I consequently defend the legitimacy of the claim that we can attend to more than one other person at once, holding multiple others as a single focus of attention insofar as we can attend to multiple others as a gestalt whole. I argue that it is therefore legitimate to talk about attending to, perceiving and addressing multiple others at the same time, in the second-person plural. I argue that this can be identified in the phenomenology of such interactions and in an analysis of the core underlying structures of these interactions.

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