March 2019 ENSO seminar

Dear ENSO community

We are delighted to announce that our March 2019 ENSO seminar will be given by Hanne De Jaegher, of the University of the Basque Country, on “Loving and knowing. Reflections for an engaged epistemology.”

The live event will be next week, on the 7th March, at 10.00 UTC.

Details of the talk, including the time in your own timezone, can be found on the ENSO webpage. The abstract is below.

As ever, if you would like to join us in the live session to participate in the discussion you would be welcome to do so. If you are interested in doing so, please send an email to or and we will send an invitation link to the YouTube Live session when things kick off. We welcome all researchers with an interest in participating.

The opportunity for discussion will continue on the ENSO webpage after the talk also.

If you or your research group have any news and announcements you would like brought to the attention of the ENSO community, please send details to either of us in advance of the talk. The simplest way to do this would be to share a a google-slides presentation with either of us (please limit yourself to a single slide).

Loving and knowing. Reflections for an engaged epistemology

In search of our highest capacities, cognitive scientists and philosophers of mind aim to explain things like language, mathematics, and planning (and while explaining them, they imagine computers). But are these really our most sophisticated forms of knowing?

In this paper, I point to a different pinnacle of cognition. Our most sophisticated human knowing, I think, lies in how we engage with each other, in our relating. Cognitive science and philosophy of mind have largely ignored the ways of knowing at play here. And yet, they have great impact on how we treat each other, as I will show with some examples from dementia, autism, or the treatment of prisoners.

The enactive theory of participatory sense-making takes some steps towards explaining this human knowing, but it needs deepening. Kym Maclaren’s (2002) idea of letting be invites precisely this. Characterising knowing as a relationship of letting be provides a nuanced way to deal with the tensions between the knower’s being and the being of the known. To understand this idea better, I think we need to look at our loving relationships. I propose that knowing is, in a particular sense, loving, and that loving is, in a certain sense, knowing. Loving and knowing share the same fundamental tension of letting something be, without letting it go.



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