Victor Rosenthal

Victor Rosenthal
Victor Rosenthal, fot. Jakub Ostałowski

Victor Rosenthal is a researcher fellow with the Institut Marcel Mauss of CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. He studied psychology, mathematics, and philosophy at the University of Tel Aviv, and then psychology and neuropsychology in Paris (MA in experimental psychology and doctorate (PhD) in cognitive psychology), where he also completed his habilitation.

He conducted research in the field of neurolinguistics, neuropsychology cognitive psychology and cognitive modelling. His current research interests are directed toward semiotic anthropology (the semiotic dimension of formation of human experience), cultural psychology, theoretical biology, and the philosophy and epistemology of psychology. In particular, he is interested in the notion of ‘inner voice’ as a vector and regulator of internal and social life, in the theory of experience (perception, imagination, thinking), as well as in synesthesia and intermodality. He is the author of numerous articles and chapters in monographs in the fields of cognitive modelling, cognitive neuropsychology and neurolinguistics, and of a monograph on Wolfgang Koehler, one of the founders of the Gestalt movement.

Project - The institution of interior life

In this book project, I intend to recast the issue of our having an interior life, not as an avatar of an innate or pregiven apparatus (call its psyche), but as a social process of institution in which the phenomenon of talking to ourselves (in Greek: epilegein – i.e. to say more, or to put it simply: the inner voice) plays a major role. The main part of the book will be devoted to an anthropological exploration of inner voice and self-talk. This includes a description of various characteristics of inner voice and of the singularity of human voice along with its social, physical, and symbolic dimensions. Viewed as a vector and the principal agency of interior life, inner voice is the device which seems to endow us with a moral stance and to confer upon us the status of a thinking subject. The project explores the relationship between language and voice, everyday rhetoric viewed as self and social government, as well as the role of narrativity and of dialogic relationship. Indeed, the phenomenon of self-talk further sheds light upon the structure of interlocution, the I-you structure, intersubjectivity, self-knowledge and the knowledge of others. Specific chapters will be devoted to the development and interiorization of inner voice in children, to the analysis of its transitional forms (e.g. imaginary companion), to the moral scaffolding of interpersonal relations, and to the intricate nexus of the social and the individual in each human being. There will also be chapters on fictioning (as a primary dimension of imagination), and on cultural and literary forms of externalization of interiority.

All in all, the book, titled in French “La voix de l’intérieur” (The Voice from Within), will consist of twelve chapters. The work on the book is already well advanced, so I am confident to be able to complete it during my stay with the PIASt.