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Durham e-Theses
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Social Expertise: A Development of ‘Intersubjective Maximal Grip’ (IMG)

CAPSTICK, JOHN,MARTIN (2015) Social Expertise: A Development of ‘Intersubjective Maximal Grip’ (IMG). Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The aim of this thesis is to supplement the interactionist alternatives to folk psychology. Briefly stated, whereas the proponents of folk psychology claim that interpersonal understanding centrally involves the attribution of propositional attitudes, such as beliefs and desires, in order to predict and explain behaviour, the interactionists argue that social understanding is a skill that encompasses a number of different aspects, which includes, but is not limited to, the attribution of propositional attitudes. Since the interactionists’ arguments are relatively new in the social understanding debate, many aspects of the arguments are not fully developed and explored. For instance, Hanne De Jaegher claims that the concept of “social skill” needs further development (2009, p. 427). This thesis aims to do just that by integrating two separate debates: social understanding and expertise.
Drawing on Hubert Dreyfus’ non-representational/non-propositional account of expertise, I describe, in detail, a form of social interaction (or ‘social expertise’) that does not centrally involve the attribution of propositional attitudes. Central to Dreyfus’ discussion of skillful coping is Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s concept of ‘maximal grip’ (MG), which refers to the way we seek to obtain a better perspective in a situation via our body. Building on this discussion, I develop a new concept called ‘intersubjective maximal grip’ (IMG), which describes a way we interact with others by anticipating their behaviour by recognising and responding to our respective optimal positions. In explaining this phenomenon further, I expand on Dreyfus’ discussion of MG to develop two skills related to understanding others: ‘joint optimal position recognition’ (JOPR) and ‘optimal position recognition’ (OPR). I then apply IMG to the debate about social understanding to demonstrate how IMG supplements the interactionists’ arguments against folk psychology.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Philosophy, Department of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:12 Jun 2015 16:45

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