Dan Zahavi / Phenomenology and speculative realism

Dan Zahavi

Proponents of speculative realism have recently subjected phenomenology to severe criticism. It has been accused of being a form of Zombie philosophy, of never really having existed, of never having amounted to anything at all. The main thinkers of the (non-existing) tradition have been criticized for their inconsistencies, for never explaining what precisely they are doing, for failing to deliver what they always promised, but never provided: a wholehearted endorsement of metaphysical realism. By contrast, speculative realism has been praised as the only position able to yield real metaphysical realism.

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Søren Overgaard / How to philosophize

Søren Overgaard-1Most philosophers know how to philosophize – after all, they do it, and would not be philosophers if they didn’t. But philosophers typically do not say very much about how philosophy is to be done. Perhaps philosophical methodology – that is, explicit reflection on the methods of philosophizing – strikes most of us as being a less juicy topic than, say, consciousness or euthanasia.

Some philosophers, indeed, think we shouldn’t be concerned with methodology at all. According to Gilbert Ryle, ‘preoccupation with questions about methods tends to distract us from prosecuting the methods themselves. We run, as a rule, worse, not better, if we think a lot about our feet’ (Ryle 2009: 331).

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Gry Ardal Printzlau / Sacks, Ferenczi and the sense of reality

Gry-VF-Web-April2016In his book Hallucinations, Oliver Sack leads us on a fascinating and informative journey through different kinds of misapprehensions of reality. Hallucinations are, Sacks tells us, “defined as percepts arising in the absence of any external reality—seeing things or hearing things that are not there” (Sacks 2012). He also refers to William James’ definition from Principles of Psychology which in the same straightforward manner reads: “An hallucination is a strictly sensational form of consciousness, as good and true a sensation as if there were a real object there. The object happens to be not there, that is all“ (1890, 116).

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Kristian Moltke Martiny / Opening Up Research on Brain Damage: An Elsass Foundation Grant at the CFS

Kristian Moltke MartinyKristian Moltke Martiny, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at CFS, just starting his research project

The main question of my PhD dissertation was: how do we help persons living with the brain damage, cerebral palsy (CP)? This question is as complex and difficult to answer as any healthcare question. I argued that we need to ‘open up’ how we do (cognitive) science in order to understand what it means for persons to live with CP and then figure out how we should help them. Based on this method of open-minded cognitive science I used phenomenological interview to co-generate data on the neurophysiological, psychological and social aspects of living with CP.

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Yuko Ishihara / The transcendental in Heidegger and Nishida

Yuko Ishihara

What is the meaning of being in general? This was the question of being that Heidegger addressed in Being and Time. It was neither a question of beings (question of the “ontic sciences”) nor was it a question regarding the various meanings of their being (question of regional ontology). Rather, it was a question that addressed the unity of the meaning of being in general. In the framework of Being and Time, such question of “fundamental ontology”, as Heidegger called it, was to be sought in the existential analytic of Dasein. Heidegger’s reason for taking Dasein’s being as the necessary starting point of the inquiry into the meaning of being was that Dasein has a pre-ontological understanding of its own being and the being of other entities. Hence, in order to clarify the meaning of being in general, we must explicate or uncover the understanding of being that we are always already in possession of. Consequently, the project in Being and Time takes the form of an interpretation (Auslegung) of Dasein’s being.

Now, amidst the apparent hermeneutical nature of Heidegger’s approach, though less evident, we can also identify a transcendental motif insofar as Dasein’s understanding of being serves as the condition of possibility for the meaning of being in general. Yet this way of phrasing it may raise some eyebrows if for no other reason than that Heidegger simply does not characterize his project in those terms and generally avoids using the language of transcendental philosophy in Being and Time. Nevertheless, let us merely recall that Heidegger later came to explicitly disavow the idea of the transcendental and in doing so, he also had in mind his own project in Being and Time. In fact, many commentators have argued that Heidegger does indeed engage in some kind of a transcendental project in the years surrounding Being and Time (e.g. J. Caputo, S. Crowell, D. Dahlstrom, J. Malpas). And a prominent work highlighting the transcendental aspect of Heidegger’s thought came out in 2007 under the title, Transcendental Heidegger (co-edited by S. Crowell and J. Malpas).

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Zeynep Üsüdür / Need to Know! – A Philosophical Analysis of Curiosity

Billede zeynep

Systematic philosophical inquiries into the nature of curiosity are very few, which is surprising since curiosity as a phenomenon is considered to have great cultural value within areas of education, creativity and innovation. The aim of nurturing curiosity is directly written into many science curricula.

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Henning Nörenberg / Project Description

The embodied affective dimension of collective intentionality

Henning Nörenberg

In recent philosophical debates, the peculiar aspects of collective intentionality or we-consciousness are regarded as foundations of human society.

These discussions of collective intentionality, however, have been largely dominated by accounts of planning and acting, of explicitly intending to do something together. According to such accounts, we-consciousness is mainly a matter of the cognitive and conative structures of the mind.

Only more recently, the interest in the structures of collective affective intentionality has grown. But is affective sharing only a special case of a more general form of we-consciousness or is it, as one of the central hypotheses underlying my project would suggest, something original in its own right?

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Lars Siersbæk Nilsson / A New Look at Schizophrenia and Intersubjectivity


A certain estrangement from the communal world has always been considered an integral part of disorders belonging to the schizophrenia spectrum. Bleuler who coined the very term “schizophrenia” famously listed autism as one of its fundamental features and described how these patients tended to withdraw from intersubjectivity and encase themselves with their inner life. Such difficulties maneuvering the social realm have transpired through the various descriptions given by the canonical authors of psychopathology since then. It is an integral part of key clinical concepts ranging from Minkowski’s “loss of vital contact with reality” over Blankenburg’s “loss of natural self evidence” to Rümke’s “Praecox Gefühl” and today it is reflected in the diagnostic manuals. Thus the DSM 5 lists impoverished personal relations as a possible criterion B for making the schizophrenia diagnosis and it includes a lack of close friends or confidants and excessive social anxiety as diagnostic criteria for schizotypal personality disorder.

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Alba Montes Sanchez / New Paper Out!

Pride, Shame and Group Identification

CFS Blog - Alba and AlessandroWhat perfect timing for Alessandro Salice (University College Cork) to come back to the Center as a visiting researcher! It is with great pride and joy that both of us announce the publication of our most recent article on “Pride, Shame and Group Identification” in Frontiers in Psychology. This article is part of an exciting Research Topic on “Affectivity Beyond the Skin,” edited by Joel Krueger, Giovanna Colombetti and Tom Roberts. As a teaser, you can find the abstract below. You can read and download the full paper at the Frontiers website here.

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Hayden Kee / Pointing the Way to Speech: The Sources of Linguistic Intentionality

Hayden KeeFor the past three months, it has been my great pleasure and honor to be a visiting researcher at the Center for Subjectivity Research. During my time in Copenhagen, I have advanced work on my dissertation, Pointing the Way to Speech: The Sources of Linguistic Intentionality.

There is a puzzle concerning the intentionality of language. The statement “it’s a warm, clear day in Copenhagen” is in some sense directed towards the sunny state of affairs it conveys. Yet the graphic or acoustic string of linguistic symbols is by no means intrinsically intentional. It would not count as being directed towards its state of affairs if it weren’t for the social conventions that sustain its use and some underlying, intrinsic intentionality or intentionalities through which language users direct themselves to the correlated state of affairs. The puzzle, then, is to understand how the secondary intentionality of a linguistic utterance can be derived from the primary intentionality that underwrites it.

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