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.

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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?

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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.

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Felipe León / Shared Action Spaces and Interpersonal ‘Body Glue’

I recently attended the conference “Science of the Self: the Agency and Body Representation Research Forum”, which took place in Sydney on November 20-22. The conference was organized by a group of researchers from Macquarie University (Vince Polito, Regine Zopf, Simmy Poonian, and Mariia Kaliuzhna, who did a great job putting together an exciting program, and also selecting a wonderful location). The conference featured four keynote presentations, and it gathered researchers working on the topics of embodiment and agency, most of them from an experimental perspective.

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Christopher Erhard / Rethinking the active-passive distinction from a phenomenological point of view

Christopher Erhard, postdoctoral visiting researcher from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich (LMU Munich), holder of a DFG fellowship, currently working on a Habilitationsschrift on the Phenomenology of Being Active and related issues.

Using resources both from the (largely neglected) early and classical phenomenological tradition and from contemporary approaches, the overall goal of my project is to rethink the active-passive distinction from a phenomenological point of view.

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Juan Toro / Embodiment and the theory of affordances

Often disorientated, but also seduced by the complexities of the topic, I’ve been revolving around the same question for a year: How can phenomenology and embodied cognitive science help us understand cases of abnormal embodiment, like cerebral palsy?

Currently I’m working on the theory of affordances, as originally proposed by Gibson in 1979. The notion of affordance, conceived as the opportunities for action for an agent in an environment, has played a central role in embodied cognitive science -especially in the radical, non-representationalist versions-. One of the reasons is that it provides a tool to explain the engagement of the animal (or person) with its environment avoiding the issues associated with explaining cognition in terms of representations and computations.

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