CFP: Bollettino Filosofico 2022 - XXXVII: RETHINKING EMPATHY BETWEEN ETHICS AND AESTHETICS
Submission deadline: April 30, 2022
CALL FOR PAPERS 2022
RETHINKING EMPATHY BETWEEN ETHICS AND AESTHETICS
The concept of empathy was born in the field of aesthetics thanks to the historian and philosopher of art Robert Vischer: in 1873, he used the term Einfühlung for the first time, in order to indicate the tendency of an observer to project his own emotional states onto the observed object. The first author to transfer the concept of “empathy” to the level of intersubjective relationship was Theodor Lipps, who replaced the concept of projection with that of “emotional participation” made possible by a sort of “internal imitation” (innere Nachahmung) of the movements of the other. Among the first to grasp the ambiguity of the concept of empathy was Husserl, who, despite calling it “obscure, and a downright tormenting enigma”, paid great attention to it, as can be seen above all from the manuscripts of his work. Subsequently, the concept of empathy was extensively investigated in the phenomenological field, especially by Moritz Geiger, Edith Stein or Max Scheler. They always maintained the need of recognizing the radical otherness of the other in the relationship, avoiding the risks associated with the confusion of experiences, which can become indistinction or even “unipathy”. But Einfühlung, which has become a central concept in explaining the paradoxical relationship with the alter, still risks to remain suspended between the problems associated with emotional contagion and those of a cognitive and intellectual process, such as that required by the analogy theories. It is, therefore, a long tour that, passing through analogical inference, reduces the impact with otherness, resulting in an introspective thrust, only to be bent subsequently outwardly. This also opens up a further problematic area concerning the constellation of concepts of empathic experience, along the theoretical axis that goes from the proto-phenomenological analyses of the young Jaspers to the existential anthropoanalysis of Ludwig Binswanger. During the twentieth century, philosophical thought has variously taken up and modulated Lipps’ fruitful intuition and the debate on empathy has developed to produce a real “empathic turn” which, also thanks to the discovery of “mirror neurons”, has largely influenced contemporary aesthetic reflection. The concept of “embodied simulation”, one of the cornerstones of these researches, radicalizing Lipps’ intuition, in fact, presents itself as a further critique of analogical inference, in favor of immediate involvement. Today, the debate on empathy and on the relationship between empathy and aesthetic experience, on the one hand, and between empathy and ethics, on the other, is one of the most heated, also thanks to its involving different but contiguous areas of reflection (cf. for example the relation identity-diversity, individual-community, subjectivation-otherness, art-emotion, reality and fiction, aesthetic creation and enjoyment, expressiveness and technique). Thus, two theoretical lines can be identified. The first, which we could define as “naturalistic-reductionist”, believes that the totality of empathic experience can be explained through neurological mechanisms, which would thus become the foundation of both aesthetic and ethical experience. The second, on the other hand, more exquisitely “philosophical”, while recognizing the importance of a scientific investigation that allows us to understand our immediate relationship with the object (also understood as the other self), claims the role of philosophical reflection in understanding of the pathic, cognitive and reflexive processes that allow us to enter into a relationship with the other.
“Bollettino Filosofico” indicates as possible themes:
- History of the concept of empathy
- Empathy and the world of aisthesis
- Empathy and emotional contagion
- Naturalistic approach and transcendental approach to empathy
- Empathy and phenomenology
- Empathy, psychoanalysis and neurosciences
- Affective and cognitive paths of empathy
- Empathy and theory of arts
- Empathy and anthropoanalysis of existence
- Empathy in the face of ethics
The journal publishes articles in several languages – Italian, English, Spanish, German and French – and submits them to a procedure of peer review. The papers must be no longer than 50.000 characters, including spaces and notes, they must include a list of 5 keywords and an abstract in English (no longer than 900 characters, including spaces), and they must respect the following Authors’ Guidelines: http://www.bollettinofilosofico.unina.it/index.php/bolfilos/about/submissions
Since all articles will be double-blind peer reviewed, they must be submitted in two copies, one of which must be anonymous, with no personal references, followed by a separate file containing the personal data of the authors, a short bio-bibliographical note and the affiliation.
The deadline for the submission is 30th April 2022. The issue XXXVII/2022 of the journal will be published by December 2022.