Hanne De Jaegher

Wall Scholar


Associate Professor


Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science


University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU

Geographic Location

Hanne De Jaegher

Prof. Hanne De Jaegher is a philosopher and a cognitive scientist, working to better understand how we think, work, play—basically, live and love—together. She has been developing the theory of intersubjectivity called participatory sense-making. Grounded in enactive cognitive science, dynamical systems theory, and phenomenology, this theory is being applied across academic and practical disciplines, such as neuroscience, psychiatry, architecture, psychology, the social sciences, music, education, various forms of therapy, the arts, and understanding autism.

Prof. De Jaegher’s interest is not only in scientifically understanding how we participate in social interactions and how this changes us, but also in helping us become better at understanding each other, especially across differences. Her latest project brings this together in the idea of an engaged—even engaging—epistemology, which understands knowing as based in the ongoing existential tensions of loving relationships, namely those between being oneself and being in relation.

Her co-authored book Linguistic Bodies: The Continuity Between Life and Language, written with Profs. Ezequiel Di Paolo and Elena Cuffari, was published by MIT Press in 2018.

Primary Recipient Awards

Hanne De Jaegher – Wall Scholars – 2021

About her project as a Wall Scholar, De Jaegher says: “Human beings are incredibly skilful at engaging in spontaneous and complex social interactions. We are quite good at understanding and ameliorating systems characterised by uncertainty and complexity. In this sense, we often display a high ‘complexity know-how’ in our interactions with the world and with each other, even if this knowledge is not easy to verbalise. Cognitive science has had difficulty grasping these connected forms of knowing, because of its generally detached and  individualistic conception of cognition.” She argues, in contrast, that these natural, spontaneous complexity capacities have their origins in our embodied social skills and experience.
Dr. De Jaegher will be studying human social interactions in their dynamical and phenomenological detail, and in this way bring connected human knowing into the centre of cognitive science. For this, she seeks to build connections with First Nations scholars and marginalised knowers, and together build towards engaged—or rather: engaging—epistemologies, i.e. towards a cognitive science that understands that human knowing comes with inevitable ontological, intersubjective, and ethical responsibility.