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Gallagher's research covers a number of fields, including phenomenology, philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and hermeneutics, especially the topics of embodied cognition and intersubjectivity. In How the Body Shapes the Mind (2005), and more recent work, he draws from phenomenology and empirical cognitive sciences, to provide a detailed account of embodied cognition, developing distinctions between body image (medicine) and body schema, the sense of agency and sense of ownership. He explores philosophical implications of embodied cognition with respect to topics such as perception, social cognition, agency, and free will. He also develops a critique of current standard theories of social cognition (including 'theory theory' and 'simulation theory') and develops an approach (termed 'interaction theory') which emphasizes embodied interaction. Interaction theory draws on developmental studies, social psychology, neuroscience and narrative theory to develop an integrated theory that recognizes the importance of bodily movements, gesture, facial expression, action, and communicative and narrative practices for understanding other persons.
Gallagher co-edits the journal Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, and is the author of several books, including How the Body Shapes the Mind (2005), Phenomenology (2012), Hermeneutics and Education (1992), The Inordinance of Time (1998), Brainstorming (2008), and (with Dan Zahavi), The Phenomenological Mind (2008; 2nd edition, 2012). He is also editor of The Oxford Handbook of the Self (2011) and several other volumes.
^Joly I. (2011). Le Corps sans représentation. De Jean-Paul Sartre à Shaun Gallagher, Paris, L'Harmattan
^Gallagher, S. 2000. Philosophical conceptions of the self: implications for cognitive science. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 4 (1): 14-21.
^Gallagher, S. (2001). "The practice of mind: Theory, Simulation, or Interaction?", Journal of Consciousness Studies, 8, 83-107.
^Gallagher, S., & Hutto, D. (2008). "Understanding others through Primary Interaction and Narrative Practice". In T. Zlatev, T. Racine, C. Sinha, & E. Itkonen, The Shared Mind: Perspectives on Intersubjectivity (pp. 17–38). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.