Søren Overgaard / Can groups believe that p?

Based on their press releases, it seems Boeing believes their new, updated software can resolve the issues with the 737 Max aircraft. And the FC Barcelona soccer team seems to think they will win La Liga next year. But wait: can corporations and sports teams really believe things? Goalkeepers and CEOs can, of course. But can groups really have beliefs over and above the beliefs of the individual members of the group? Quite a few philosophers seem to think so, including some with phenomenological credentials. And many of them seem to think they can comfortably maintain those views while acknowledging that there is no such thing as a group consciousness, over and above the consciousness of individual members.

Together with my good friend and former colleague Alessandro Salice, now at UC Cork, I set out to investigate whether this combination of views is a stable resting place. Our conclusion: it is not!

In a recently published paper, we argue that a state is not a belief unless the owner of the state is disposed to access the state’s content in a corresponding conscious judgment. Thus, if there is no such thing as Barça team consciousness, then we cannot literally ascribe beliefs to the team.

It may seem a tall order to ascribe phenomenal consciousness to the Barça soccer team. Personally, I am not inclined to think there is any such thing as a group consciousness. But nothing in our paper actually challenges that view. And at any rate, whether or not there is a Barça consciousness, surely no one will dispute the existence of the Barça spirit!

Curious to find out more? You can access our paper (free of charge) here: https://rdcu.be/bo9UE

Thomas Netland / Phenomenology and Science

This Spring I enjoyed a four-months stay (February-May) at the Center for Subjectivity Research as a visiting PhD researcher. Having spent the first months of my PhD period (Fall 2018) mostly on teaching duties at my home university in Trondheim, Norway, the Center’s friendly and inspiring atmosphere proved the perfect environment for me to really get started on my project. Søren Overgaard and Felipe Léon’s MA course on Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology, which I was so lucky to get to attend twice a week during my stay, helped me greatly in gaining a better understanding of a philosopher that is central to my research. I’m also grateful to the Center’s staff and my co-visitors for many stimulating conversations throughout my visit in Copenhagen.

Read moreThomas Netland / Phenomenology and Science

Hayden Kee / CfS Blog for Feb 18-28, 2019 Visit

From 18 to 28 February 2019 I enjoyed a productive and inspiring visit at the Center for Subjectivity Research, supported by research funding from the German Academic Exchange Service and a Graduate Student Support Grant from Fordham University. Spring even came early in Copenhagen this year, perhaps as partial compensation for the dreary winter I spent here in 2016.

The objective of my present research is to develop a phenomenological philosophy of language. I draw on the resources offered by the phenomenological tradition (especially Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty), as well as recent work in the language sciences (especially neurolinguistics and language acquisition studies).

Read moreHayden Kee / CfS Blog for Feb 18-28, 2019 Visit

Anthony Vincent Fernandez / Contingency and Existence

From August to October 2018, I had an enjoyable and productive stay at the Center for Subjectivity Research at the University of Copenhagen, supported by a Research and Creative Activity Appointment from Kent State University. The Center provided an excellent environment to develop new projects, receive insightful and constructive feedback, and initiate interdisciplinary collaborations.

During my stay, I worked on a book project called Contingency and Existence: Foundations of Applied Phenomenology. The project is motivated by the challenges of applying classical phenomenology to the study of particular or contingent features of human life, such racial identity, gender difference, child development, somatic illness, disability, and psychopathology. Despite phenomenology’s original concern with experience as such, or the structures of any possible experience, today, phenomenologists are increasingly concerned with aspects of human experience that are particular to specific groups or populations. Phenomenology’s original concern with the universal has shifted—at least in part—toward a concern with particularity, difference, and contingency.

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Jaakko Belt / Reflection and Selfhood

My eventful and rewarding stay in Copenhagen came to an end late last year after spending almost four months at the CFS as a visiting PhD researcher. I had time and the perfect environment to concentrate on both areas of my current research: phenomenological methodology and study of selfhood. What is more, I was fortunate to have the generous support and brilliant company of the CFS staff and co-visitors alike.

During my research period, I was working primarily on the methodological issues concerning Husserl’s phenomenological reflection. The strategy was to approach phenomenological methodology indirectly by giving careful consideration to the more empirically oriented and naturalistic criticism it has faced. The first step was to reconstruct the general sceptical arguments against the objectivity and scientific reliability of first-person investigations put forward by Daniel C. Dennett, among others. Then I scrutinized Dennett’s particular claims that phenomenological reflection amounts to a solipsistic and introspectionist technique relying on generalizing from single subject’s particular experience. Finally, I looked at the empirically attuned argumentative strategies maintaining that reflection is prone to bias, construction, and error, allegedly producing high level of variation, uncertain results, and unresolved disagreements.

Read moreJaakko Belt / Reflection and Selfhood

Felipe León / Second-Person Engagement and Group Identification

Upcoming conference in Copenhagen: Second-Person Engagement and Group Identification (Copenhagen, November 29-30 2018)

At the end of November, there will be a two-day international conference organized by the Center for Subjectivity Research. The conference Second-Person Engagement and Group Identification will focus on theoretical and empirical perspectives on two research domains that have been extensively explored in recent years. Briefly put, the overarching question of the conference is this: what is the relationship between the you-perspective and the we-perspective?

Read moreFelipe León / Second-Person Engagement and Group Identification

Hynek Janousek / Hume, Brentano, Husserl

I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship from the EU operational programme Research, Development and Education, which allowed me to spend six month in the CFS in Copenhagen. I concentrated on research concerning Brentano’s and Marty’s descriptive psychology and Husserl’s early phenomenology. Since I was also working on the Czech translation of Hume, I addressed the relation between Hume’s work and Husserl’s Phenomenology, both on the level of the phenomenological interpretation of Hume’s Treatise and on the level of the historical influence of Hume’s ideas on Husserl’s work.

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Thomas Arnold / Objects, Habits and the Absolute

My time as a visiting researcher at the CfS in wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen is almost at an end. I was here with my family on a six-months postdoc research grant provided by the DAAD – and not only have we enjoyed our sojourn immensely, I also feel that I’ve managed to make a lot of headway on my philosophical projects, the gist of which I will outline below.

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Takashi Ikeda / Phenomenological Perspectives on Implicit Bias

My five-month stay at the CFS came to an end this week. This was my sabbatical leave, and I am convinced that I made the best choice about where to spend it. Both during official discussions in weekly research seminars and over casual conversation at lunch or in the office kitchen, I gained a lot of important information, suggestions, and philosophical insights relating to my research project: phenomenological perspectives on implicit bias.

Read moreTakashi Ikeda / Phenomenological Perspectives on Implicit Bias