Abstract and Keywords
Defenders of a view called “direct social perception” (DSP) argue that our social-cognitive capacities rest on our ability to directly perceive others’ mental states—their emotions, desires, intentions, etc.—embodied in their expressive, goal-directed behavior. DSP thus challenges the widespread assumption that mental states are intracranial phenomena, perceptually inaccessible to everyone but their owner. In this chapter, I consider a version of DSP that draws upon phenomenology, 4E cognition, and empirical work in cognitive science. I first examine DSP in its historical context, focusing on its development in the hands of phenomenologists like Husserl, Scheler, and Merleau-Ponty. I then consider some supporting arguments and empirical evidence—particularly work suggesting that embodied expressions of emotions (e.g., facial expressions, gestures, etc.) may constitute part of the emotion itself. I conclude by defending DSP against several objections.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.