Empathy. A neurobiological capacity and its cultural and conceptual history
Sigrid Weigel (ZfL): Empathy. A neurobiological capacity and its cultural and conceptual history
Empathy & Aesthetics
Vittorio Gallese (Parma): Embodied Simulation Theory. The body in aesthetic experience
Andrea Pinotti (Milan): A question of character. The empathic life of things
19.00 Evening lecture
David Freedberg (Columbia Univ.): Empathy in aesthetic response. Adjusting the neuroscientific perspective
Christian G. Allesch (Salzburg): Empathy. A key concept of psychological aesthetics
Patrizia Manganaro (Rome): Empathy and phenomenology. The roots of intersubjectivity by Edith Stein
Susan Lanzoni (Harvard Univ.): Empathy in translation
Vanessa Lux (ZfL): Measuring the emotional quality of empathy and sympathy
Empathy & Moral Judgment
Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber (Frankfurt a.M.): Empathy with the primary object. Key to Winnicott’s or Klein’s baby?
Thomas Fuchs (Heidelberg): The Extended Body. A phenomenological and enactive account of empathy
Grit Hein (Zurich): Modulation of empathy and its link to altruism
Katja Liebal (FU Berlin): Does empathy motivate prosocial behavior in great apes?
19.30 Evening lecture
Mark Solms (Cape Town): The problem of other minds. A neuropsychoanalytical perspective
Simon Strick (ZfL): Feeling other people's pain between 1750 and 1860. Aesthetics, politics, biopower
Helmut J. Schneider (Bonn): Empathy, fiction, community. Aesthetic experience and social cohesion in Enlightenment thought
Empathy in the Arts
Iris Hermann (Bamberg): Empathy in literary texts
Antonio Somaini (Paris): Expressive movement, regression, ecstasy. The aesthetics of empathy in Sergei M. Eisenstein’s art theory
With the discovery of the mirror neuron system (MNS) the concept of empathy has gained a central role in neuroscience and neurobiological research. New research protocols such as two- or multi-person neuroscience are developed, and there is a rising interest in figures such as embodied simulation, inner imitation, intersubjectivity, social cognition etc. Since empathy is a translation of the German Einfühlung and thus refers to a field of aesthetic theory around 1900 (F. Th. Vischer, R. Vischer, Th. Lipps et al) the question arises whether and how both concepts are actually interrelated.
Neurobiological research describes the MNS as a system of inner or embodied simulation of perceived (inter)action. Understood as general capacity of mental imitation, the MNS is also considered the physio-neurological foundation of empathy. But how gets this neutral capacity related to or connected with emotions, sympathy and moral meanings associated with empathy in interpersonal and social behavior such as altruism or care taking? In several research areas the moral values and social attitudes underlying empathy in human perception and acting are conceptualized as universal traits. In the humanities the historical, cultural and scientific genealogy of empathy and its forerunners (e.g. Einfühlung and sympathy) are analyzed showing their dependence of various preconditions, procedures and symbolic systems of production.
The symposium provides a site to examine the neurobiological theory of empathy and its impact on socio-psychological ideas of care-taking, altruism etc. within the cultural and conceptual history of empathy and related concepts, the latter referring to both aesthetics and moral philosophy.
Event for ZfL semester theme: An/Sichten Winter 2012/2013