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Freedom and Empathy
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There has been a strong revival of the scientific discussion on empathy in the last years. Especially in the fields of neurophysiology (mirror neurons), developmental psychology (theories of mind), and evolutionary anthropology (i. e. the question if 'human nature' can be understood as somehow 'social'). However all of this happens within an on-going paradigm shift in liberal politics and economics. The long-standing notion of homo oeconomicus as someone who is concerned with others mainly for reasons of individual pleasure-seeking is about to cease. I would like to access the question, in how far the one thing (a strong resurgence of notions of empathy) has something to do with the other (a re-shaping of liberal policy), by asking if there is an inner need for societies that are fundamentally based on the idea of individual freedom to somehow conceptualize our 'mental interconnection' with others? There are a lot of interesting classic and modern philosophical texts on the topic, from which we could choose to read some on a first meeting.

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Hello everyone, 

thank you for this inspirating first meeting. For our next meeting we agreed on reading a short passage from the Theory of Moral Sentiments. namely Part 1, Section 1, Chapter 1 Of sympathy. (pdf p. 11-17)

You can find the TMS here:

http://grr.aaaaarg.org/txt/image/detail.php?id=51c5856f6c3a0e090ce30c00 

and here:

https://anonfiles.com/file/92fd9a69b7d313e19a1cbeb9efa87aca

Looking forward to our discussion next sat,

Dirk

Hello everyone,

this is not meant as an obligatory reading for today's class, but if you want to read sth, I can recommend the article on empathy in the stanford encyclopedia for philosophy: 

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/empathy/

I'll be the too. Looking forward to it.

Ok great - I'll be there :-)

fiona geuss's picture

hi dirk, the school is hosted by Archive Kabinett in dieffenbachstrasse 31, 10967 berlin!

 

hi fiona, sat 4pm is fine with me. Where shall we meet?

Next Saturday at 4pm sounds good to me but I believe it is the 16th?

fiona geuss's picture

as suggested by dirk, we would like to schedule the first meeting to plan the class next week, saturday, november 15. does 4pm work for people?

fiona geuss's picture

as suggested by dirk, we would like to schedule the first meeting to plan the class next week, saturday, november 15. does 4pm work for people?

fiona geuss's picture

as suggested by dirk, we would like to schedule the first meeting to plan the class next week, saturday, november 15. does 4pm work for people?

this is a pretty good genealogy of homo oeconomicus, i think adam smith is also in there: http://grr.aaaaarg.org/txt/image/detail.php?id=5272d46a307888592e00002e

dirk you might already know it - i'm sorry it's in german. anyway this might take us away from the questions in the initial proposal.

Hi Chris,

my background is more in philosophy and social science, so this might be a good correlate. Maybe we can wait for some days more for people being interested and then ask someone from the public school (hey guys :-)) to schedule a first meeting for the 2nd week in november (11th-). I can imagine comparing classical positions about the way we engage with others (e. g. Adam Smith) with present ideas about this. But lets wait for a first meeting to see in which aspects of the topic everybody else is interested.

Best,

Dirk  

 

Hi Dirk,

This is a very interesting topic and timely topic. Homo Economicus is dead, but we're still guided by his ghost. My take is that the new science has servered to further de-legitimise the current political order and neo-classical economics, but we don't know what to do with our new understanding. I think a first meeting makes sense to try to figure out where we would want this to go. I've got a background in political and economic theory and practice so would be happy to advise on readings in these areas. I could see putting this to some of the philosophical biggies by was of this literature.

Best,

Chris

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