Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Shaun Gallagher

Committee Member

Deborah Tollefsen

Committee Member

John Tienson

Committee Member

Dan Zahavi


The present dissertation is comprised of three chapters. While the first chapter confines itself to Husserlian phenomenology, the other two pull together phenomenology and cognitive science, especially developmental psychology. Each chapter is an autonomous paper. However, the second and the third chapters are clearly connected. The claim defended in the second chapter figures as a premise in the third.In the first chapter, I argue that the phenomenological reduction makes possible a viable solution to the epistemological problem of whether the belief in the world's existence is justified. The chapter includes a relatively long exegetical session aimed at demonstrating that the problem of the epistemic ground for the world's existence constitutes one of Husserl's motivations for the phenomenological reduction. In the second chapter, I propose the association by similarity hypothesis for neonatal imitation. This phenomenon is at the center of heated debates involving psychologists and philosophers. In the third chapter, I claim that infants come to perceive others as minded beings on the basis of an association by similarity between the behavior of others and their own. This claim constitutes a significant application of the "theory of pairing," which was endorsed in its core by Husserl and Merleau-Ponty. I examine action perception in infants and I argue that pairing occurs through infant-caregiver interaction.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.