Institut Jean Nicod

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Dan Zahavi (University of Copenhagen)

Vendredi 18 mars de 11h30 à 13h

Dan Zahavi, Professor, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, Center for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen.

“Phenomenology of the we: Reciprocal empathy, self-alienation, and plural self-awareness”

One of the key questions within contemporary debates about collective intentionality concerns the notion and status of the we. The question however is by no means new. At the beginning of the last century, it was already intensively discussed within phenomenology. In my talk, I will present and evaluate some key ideas found in this heterogeneous discussion. One group of phenomenologists, including figures such as Stein, Walther and Husserl, insist on the importance of empathy for proper we-experiences. Husserl, for instance, argue that group-identification requires an element of self-alienation and that this might come about through a process of reciprocal empathy. Another group, including Heidegger and more recently Hans Bernhard Schmid argue that a focus on empathy is detrimental to a proper understanding of the we, and that the latter is more fundamental than any dyadic interaction. In my talk, I will present and assess both options.