Centrum för kognitiv semiotik (CCS)

Humanistiska och teologiska fakulteterna | Lunds universitet


Readings in the Phenomenology of Empathy

Göran Sonesson (Lund)

My own interest in this theme did not originate with the studies of yawning we have been doing within PSUII for he last few years. It has to do with the development of models for semiotics of culture, when I realized that analogies could be made between the understanding of other individuals and the understanding of other cultures. So my point of departure will be what I have written on this theme earlier. But the question where yawning fits in might still be relevant. Basically, however, I want to discuss with you a number of rather recent articles on the phenomenology of empathy.

The article by Shaun Gallagher discussed the theory of empathy developed by my favorite phenomenologist, Aron Gurwitsch, in a book from 1931, and he uses these ideas to criticize both the theory theory and the simulation theory. Dan Zahavi's article is a more classical description of the phenomenological approach to intersubjectivity.

I am also including an article by Dermott Moran which is a general overview of theories of empathy up to phenomenology. You may read it for general background, but if you do not have the time or the inclination, the think you should priority to Gallagher and Zahavi.

For copies of the three articles we will be discussing, please email