“A presupposition of the empirical and philosophical ‘problem of other minds’ is what’s come to be termed the ‘unobservability thesis’—the thesis that the other’s mind is fundamentally unobservable. In contradiction to this, at times throughout Husserl’s corpus he seems to suggest that in Einfühlung (empathy) we can observe the other’s mind directly and immediately. In my work I’ve tried to unravel precisely what Husserl might have meant behind this rather enigmatic claim, and if it is justified. One can also wonder, if it is the case that we can actually and literally see the others mind reliably, what flow on effects does this have for psychological science?
For the 7th year in a row, CFS organized a week long summer school on phenomenology in mid-August. Keynote presentations were given by Giovanna Colombetti, John Drummond, Shaun Gallagher, Søren Overgaard and Dan Zahavi, who each were responsible for one day of the program. The event was well attended with 100 PhD students and young researchers from around 30 different countries.
Very often, affective sharing is regarded as a special feature of a more general form of collective intentionality which is already in place. For instance, it has been argued in the literature that sharing feeling is based on sharing a concern. In contrast to this view, I wish to address the question to what extent affective sharing may also embody a primitive form of we-consciousness of its own.
You can hear more about this issue in a few weeks’ time at Collective Intentionality X (The Hague, August 30 – September 2, 2016). There I am going to present some of my ideas under the topic ‘Spontaneous Affective Sharing.’
Last month, an article on mysticism and schizophrenia by Josef Parnas and myself was published in Consciousness & Cognition. The article had been long in the making and we were happy to finally see it in print.
As we put it in the abstract, mysticism and schizophrenia are different categories of human existence and experience. Nonetheless, they exhibit important phenomenological affinities, which, however, remain largely unaddressed. In this study, we explore structural analogies between key features of mysticism and major clinical-phenomenological aspects of the schizophrenia spectrum disorders—i.e. attitudes, the nature of experience, and the ‘other’, mystical or psychotic reality. Not only do these features gravitate around the issue of the basic dimensions of consciousness, they crucially seem to implicate and presuppose a specific alteration of the very structure of consciousness. This finding has bearings for the understanding of consciousness and its psychopathological distortions.