Hanne De Jaegher

Associate Professor
Ph.D. University of Sussex, UK
Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Spain

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

Wall Scholars Program, Hanne De Jaegher, 2021

Hanne De Jaegher

About her project as a Wall Scholar, Prof. De Jaegher says: “Human beings can be incredibly skilful at understanding and ameliorating systems characterised by uncertainty and complexity. We engage in our everyday interactions with the world and with each other with a kind of ‘complexity know-how’—a form of knowing that is not always easy to verbalise. Cognitive science has had difficulty grasping these connected ways of knowing, because of its generally detached and individualistic conception of cognition.” She argues, in contrast, that these capacities have their origins in our social skills and experience.

Prof. De Jaegher will study live social interactions in their dynamical, bodily, and experiential detail, to help bring connected knowing into the centre of cognitive science. She also seeks to build collaborations with Black feminists, First Nations scholars, marginalised knowers, and others who are interested in building towards an engaging epistemology, for a cognitive science that understands that human knowing comes with inevitable ontological, intersubjective, and ethical responsibility.