Playful Intentions and the Problem of the Hypno-Flirt

Saturday, August 11, 2007 -- 5:00 PM
Guest Contributor

posted by Carrie Jenkins

Hi all - and thanks Ken and John for the invitation to be on the show today and to write for this blog.

I liked Ken's Gricean point about the flirter requiring the intention that his/her intention be recognized by the flirtee, and I just wanted to follow up on that a bit.  One case I at first thought this promised to help with is the case of the "hypno-flirt" (which was first suggested to me by David Wall at the Australian National University).  The hypno-flirt is a mad scientist who playfully and knowingly inserts electrodes into your brain with the intention of stimulating those parts of the brain which will cause you to think about having sex with her.  There's some reason to doubt she's flirting, but if all she needs is the playfulness, the knowingness, and the intentions I talk about in my paper (plus the belief that the subject can respond, e.g. with the appropriate beliefs and perhaps emotions), then she ought to count as flirting. 

However, one thing lacking from this case is the intention that her intentions be recognized by the subject.  So I though maybe introducing your requirement would deal with the case.  But then I thought, one could complicate the case so that the hypno-flirt now also stimulates the required parts of the subject's brain to make him believe that she has the intention to make him think about sex with her.  It's still a bit uncomfortable to say she is flirting.   

So I'm not really sure yet how to solve the hypno-flirt, though I suspect some complication of my account might be needed here.  And this case, I think, raises some of the same issues as your dangerous bridge case, to do with the deviancy or non-standardness of the method used to raise romance/sex to salience.  But I'm not yet convinced that, in general, a flirter need have the intention that her intention to raise romance/sex to salience be recognized.  I think I could flirt with someone by doing certain things I know will make him think about how cute I am, even if I know (and intend) that he doesn't realize what I'm up to. 

Suppose I decide to bat my eyelids at Clueless Clive, knowing that he will as a result think of me in a slightly more sexualized way than before, but that because he's so clueless he will have no idea why his attitude to me has changed.  If my partner then accuses me of flirting with Clueless Clive, he's got a point.   But I certainly agree that in typical cases of flirtation this intention that one's intention be recognized is present.

(Incidentally, I don't know who  told you I was an "expert flirter", but personally I'd put myself more at the Pepe Le Pew end of the spectrum than the Brigitte Bardot end ... ) 

Comments (5)


Guest's picture

Guest

Saturday, August 11, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

I think I'm a hypno-flirt. LOL.

I think I'm a hypno-flirt. LOL.

Alex's picture

Alex

Saturday, August 11, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

Nice post. I really enjoy your style. BTW, I run a

Nice post. I really enjoy your style. BTW, I run an Adult Dating Article Directory and if you have some Flirting articles for distribution, you are very welcome to post them.
Regards,
Alex
http://www.thesupertoplist.com

Guest's picture

Guest

Friday, August 31, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

either ive missed something or you have. i think w

either ive missed something or you have. i think we need to include psychology theory here, and when we do we must test the theory that women dont think like philosophers! They are into mystery and may be flirting with that which they cannot define. If sex is suggested by the intentions of the parter, then the woman may very well run away out of fear of being used. Women dont go after men for penis innoculations. they go after men for love and security. sex may happen after the love happens. they expect us men to do the same, which is of course unlikely. this is an asymmetrical game. life is rough! what can i say? opinions?

Guest's picture

Guest

Friday, February 19, 2010 -- 4:00 PM

I loved the flirting references to that all-time

I loved the flirting references to that all-time flirter, Paul Grice.
He actually has an example resembling the neural flirter, in his "Method in philosophical psychology". As he would suggest, it would not count as flirting because the recognition of the intention needs to be a reason, and NOT just a 'cause'.
Compiments are like flirts. I discussed this in "And the implicature was SEX" in GriceClub.blogspots -- where all are invited to join in. J. L. Speranza, jlsperanza@aol.com.

Guest's picture

Guest

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 -- 5:00 PM

Still wondering how can I be a "hypno-flirt" just

Still wondering how can I be a "hypno-flirt" just curious how it works. lol
cletsey

 
 

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