Shaun Gallagher, "Music First, Narrative Later: Understanding Empathy”

First workshop in the series organised by the International centre for enactivism and cognitive semiotics in collaboration with the Knowledge and Cognition research centre.

  • Date: 15 FEBRUARY 2021  from 18:00 to 20:00

  • Type: International Centre for Enactivism and Cognitive Semiotics

In this presentation I start by briefly mapping out different theories of empathy. I then suggest that Colwyn Trevarthen’s work on intersubjective interaction, which he characterizes as involving sympathy (an older term than empathy), provides an alternative view of basic empathy, and some important insights that can inform these debates. I conclude by highlighting a problem about the role that narrative plays in Trevarthen’s account. I suggest that there is a continuity between basic and higher-order empathy based not on narrative, but on the continuing role of primary intersubjectivity – the music of intersubjective relations – that extends throughout the life span.

Shaun Gallagher is Lillian and Morrie Moss Professor of Excellence in Philosophy at the University of Memphis (Memphis, USA) and Professorial Fellow on the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts University of Wollongong, (Wollongong, Australia).
His areas of research include phenomenology and the cognitive sciences, especially topics related to embodiment, self, agency and intersubjectivity, hermeneutics, and the philosophy of time. Professor Gallagher is also a founding editor, and co-editor-in-chief of the Journal Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences.


International Centre for Enactivism and Cognitive Semiotics

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