Reading Group with Lucy Osler


Location: 131 Decio Hall

The group will discuss "Social Doubt" with Lucy Osler. If you are interested in attending the reading group, please email by September 19 for the paper.

Lucy Osler is a philosophy lecturer at Cardiff University specializing in phenomenological and 4E approaches to sociality, psycopathology, and technology. She is particularly interested in the role of the body and bodily experience in social interaction, so-called 'mental' health, and our use of contemporary tech.

Abstract for “Social Doubt” by Lucy Osler and Tom Roberts

In this article, we introduce two concepts - social certainty and social doubt - that help to articulate a variety of experiences of the social world that are not easily captured in the language of 'emotion' and 'mood', such as shyness, self-consciousness, culture shock, and anxiety. We follow Carel's (2013) analysis of bodily doubt, which explores how a person's tacit confidence in the workings of their body can be disrupted and undermined in illness, thereby transforming their experience of the material environment. We consider how an individual's faith in themselves as a social agent can be compromised or lost, thus altering their experience of what is afforded by the social environment, in cases such as shyness, social anxiety, culture shock, and depression. We situate the concepts of both bodily and social doubt by highlighting how loss of faith in oneself as a bodily and social agent can be scaffolded, shaped, and sustained by the environments in which one finds oneself. As such, we show how certain individuals might be more vulnerable to experiences of bodily and social doubt than others.


Department of Philosophy
Gender Studies Program
Health, Humanities, and Society | John J. Reilly Center

Originally published at