Embodied Intersubjective Understanding and Communication in Congenital Deafblindness

  • Shaun Gallagher


In all standard philosophical approaches to social cognition, both vision and audition play a central role; tactile and proprioceptive sensations, less central; and taste and olfaction, if they are ever mentioned in theories of social cognition, play a marginal role. This makes it difficult to think of how social cognition might work in the deafblind population.  My intention is to outline three different views about social cognition, which attempt to explain intersubjective understanding and communication.  I’ll show how vision and audition play a central role in all of these accounts.  I’ll then ask what alternative resources might provide a clue to understanding social cognition in deafblindness, and finally, whether this is the right way to put the question.