Philippe Rochat

 

On his book Others in Mind: Social Origins of Self-Consciousness

Cover Interview of November 25, 2009

The wide angle

Other in Mind is neither just another dry academic book, nor a self-help book.  It is about sharing what I see as a crucial aspect of what makes us part of a self-reflective species.  It is an invitation to explore what it means to be human, alive in this world, and how we construe our being in relation to others.

I have meant the book to be more than an academic concoction for the few initiated specialists.  Based on empirical observations, primarily developmental observations of children, Others in Mind is a book of ideas, taping into both developmental and anthropological phenomena and guided by strong existential intuitions regarding the human condition.  At the core of these intuitions, there is the idea that human psychic life is predominantly determined by what we imagine others perceive of us.

I write in the book that “the struggle for recognition is the struggle for existence itself.”