psychological relation between people; quality of entities in the collective imagination or that exist by agreement

Intersubjectivity, in philosophy, psychology, sociology and anthropology, is the relation or intersection between people's cognitive perspectives.


  • Subjects who reciprocally recognize each other as such, must consider each other as identical, insofar as they both take up the position of subject; they must at all times subsume themselves and the other under the same category. At the same time, the relation of reciprocity of recognition demands the non-identity of one and the other, both must also maintain their absolute difference, for to be a subject implies the claim of individuation.
    • Jürgen Habermas (1972) "Sprachspiel, intention und Bedeutung. Zu Motiven bei Sellars und Wittgenstein". In R.W. Wiggerhaus (Ed.) Sprachanalyse and Soziologie. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp). p. 334 ; This is called the paradoxical achievement of intersubjectivity
  • As historical and social beings we find ourselves always already in a linguistically structured lifeworld. In the forms of communication through which we reach an understanding with one another about something in the world and about ourselves, we encounter a transcending power. Language is not a kind of private property. No one possesses exclusive rights over the common medium of the communicative practices we must intersubjectively share. No single participant can control the structure, or even the course, of processes of reaching understanding and self-understanding. How speakers and hearers make use of their communicative freedom to take yes- or no-positions is not a matter of their subjective discretion. For they are free only in virtue of the binding force of the justifiable claims they raise towards one another. The logos of language embodies the power of the intersubjective, which precedes and grounds the subjectivity of speakers.
  • Our maturation has consisted in the gradual realization that, if we can rely on one another, we need not rely on anything else. In religious terms, this is the Feuerbachian thesis that God is just a projection of the best, and sometimes the worst, of humanity. In philosophical terms, it is the thesis that anything that talk of objectivity can do to make our practices intelligible can be done equally well by talk of intersubjectivity.
    • Richard Rorty, "John Searle on Realism and Relativism." Truth and Progress: Philosophical Papers, Volume 3 (1998).
  • We human beings constitute and reconstitute ourselves through cultural traditions, which we experience as our own development in a historical time that spans the generations. To investigate the life-world as horizon and ground of all experience therefore requires investigating none other than generativity - the processes of becoming, of making and remaking, that occur over the generations and within which any individual genesis is always already situated... Individual subjectivity is intersubjectively and culturally embodied, embedded, and emergent.
    • Evan Thompson, Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind. Harvard University Press, 2010. p. 36
  • There is intersubjectivity woven into the very fabric of the Kosmos at all levels.

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