intersubjectivity: a look at the community of philosophical inquiry


  • paula alexandra vieira "NICA_Universidade dos Açores" "EBS Armando Côrtes-Rodrigues"



intersubjectivity, communicative rationality, community of philosophical inquiry


The intersubjective paradigm advocated by Habermas laid the foundation for a new way of reaching rationally predicated consensus. His work indicates that what keeps people in an attitude of communicative action is rational basis and motivation. Upon analysing the intersubjective dimension of the practice of the community of philosophical inquiry, we realized that it possible to observe the transition from a subject-centred autonomy of treason (thinking for oneself), to the practice of a communicative rationality (focused on thinking in community). The inevitable assumptions of communication ground and sustain communities and allow for an environment of trust and care that enables community members to think freely and let themselves be driven by the power of “we”, “nos-otros”. It is not only in the context of communities of philosophical inquiry that the potential of Habermas’ intersubjective paradigm can be observed, but also in the discussion among specialists. To an extent, this is what we found when we studied the various approaches of Ann Sharp, David Kennedy, and Giuseppe Ferraro to the concept of the community of philosophical inquiry. The dialogue between these philosophers and the concept of the community of philosophical inquiry, their arguments, and the ways of achieving philosophical dialogue in community offer rich evidence of the productiveness of communicative rationality. We are aware that Ann Sharp’s concept of community of philosophical inquiry is different from David Kennedy’s, and that both are distinct from Giuseppe Ferraro’s circle of thinking. Nevertheless, we place these different approaches into dialogue, due largely to what is permitted by the movement of communicative rationality itself. These possibilities for dialogue are also grounded in the assumption of an intersubjective relationship between concepts, experiences and thoughts about concepts and experiences. By understanding the community of philosophical inquiry as a space of intersubjectivity (Sharp, 1987), opening the philosophical community to other non-discursive dimensions of communication (Kennedy, 1994), and analysing the circle of thinking that fills space with time and turns it into a place (Ferraro, 2018), we reveal that the community of philosophical inquiry is an open and fruitful concept and experience: a concept in motion.


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How to Cite

vieira, paula alexandra. (2019). intersubjectivity: a look at the community of philosophical inquiry. Childhood & Philosophy, 15, 01–21.



dossier: philosophical inquiry with children: new voices