Felipe León / Upcoming Conference in Copenhagen on “Shared Cultural Context and Interpersonal Understanding”

Together with Dan Zahavi and Thomas Szanto, I have been involved in the organization of the upcoming CFS conference “Shared Cultural Context and Interpersonal Understanding”.

The conference will take place on May 18-19, and is part of the CFS project “Empathy and Interpersonal Understanding”, financed by the VELUX Foundation.

The main aim of the conference is to explore the interrelations between shared cultural context and interpersonal understanding from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Some of the questions to be considered at the conference are:

  • How do shared cultural contexts and in-group/out-group dynamics enable and influence different forms of interpersonal understanding?
  • Conversely, what is the impact of interpersonal understanding on shared cultural contexts?
  • In this regard, is there a specific role for empathy, sympathy, and mutual recognition?
  • Furthermore, how do processes of stereotyping and typification contribute to our understanding of the interrelations between interpersonal understanding and shared cultural context?

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Zeynep Üsüdür / Curiosity, attention, interest – what are the differences?

Intuitively there is a clear difference between attention, curiosity and interest. Still, I have managed to be very confused on the question of what the differences exactly are. Recently, I have been interested in Husserl’s descriptions of how we are affected and motivated towards what is given and pegiven. My interest in these aspects of Husserl’s writings (in particular Analyses Concerning Passive and Active Synthesis) stems from my discomfort with on the one hand a sharp distinction between sensory and conceptual curiosity in the existing literature and the other hand the tendency to require to much of curiosity (that it is directed towards something specific and is aware of some information, knowledge, or the like, that it lacks).

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Alba Montes Sánchez / Personal identity in the age of genomics

After a year and a half of work (not counting maternity leave!), my involvement with the project on The Genomic History of Denmark is slowly drawing to a close. Working in it has been both fun and enormously challenging, since I had to learn a lot about population genomics, ancient DNA research and genetic ancestry testing.

But you may wonder: why is someone from CFS working for such a project? Well, the answer is that one can often hear claims that genetics has something to tell us about our identity, about who we are. In the case of ancient DNA research and genetic ancestry testing, the claim is specifically that it can unlock the mysteries of our ancestry and tell us where we really come from, which is supposed to be a key to who we really are. All such claims spark controversy to a higher or lesser degree, and raise questions about what identity means. My job within this project has been to reflect upon the implications that this research may have, and should or should not have, for personal identity (for identity self-ascription, group-identification and the sense of group belongingness) and group membership.

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