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How Did We Get Here?: Empathy

November 1, 2022 @ 6:30 pm - 7:45 pm MDT

Conversation Details

In this first installment of our new “How Did We Get Here?” series, we’ll consider the concept of empathy.  We’ll start in the 16th century with David Hume and explore onward. 

By tracing the evolution of empathy, we’ll learn how each thinker contributes to our understanding of the empathic experience as well as how they engage(d) with the neuroscientific approaches.

In the process — and inspired by their philosophical work — we’ll also gain a deeper appreciation of our own mental capacities and encounter more tools for analyzing our interpersonal approaches. 

Finally, we’ll reflect on the search for community, as well as the knowledge found in connection.



This November’s “How Did We Get Here?” event will be followed by a December workshop “On Empathy”, which will draw upon some of this history in developing the functions of empathy done well.

The evening session and the workshop will each stand on their own, while also being mutually enriching for those who choose to attend both.


When & Where

This Merlin short led by philosopher & student scholar fellow Julianna Breit will take place in the Conference Center in Reeder’s Alley on Tuesday, Nov. 1st.  No prior background in philosophy is required to participate.

Workshop Details

Date: Tuesday, Nov. 1st  
Time: 6:30pm – 7:45pm MT
Where: 101 Reeder’s Alley (Conference Center)

Registration Info

RSVP: Scroll down to RSVP!
Cost: Free (Donations Welcome)
Other: Light snacks provided.  BYOB

How Did We Get Here?

An exploration of the history of ideas

Conversation Leader

Julianna Breit is our 2021-2023 Merlin Student Scholar Fellow. Our first undergraduate fellow, Julianna was selected as junior in 2021 and did such an amazing job that we extended her fellowship for another year.  Now a senior at Carroll College, she is double-majoring in Biochemistry and Philosophy with minors in Ethics and Value Studies, Neuroscience, and Chemistry.  Valuing inquisition, creativity, integration, restoration, and understanding, Julianna strives to unite philosophy and neuroscience.  

Her research interests include Phenomenology of Emotion, Trauma, and Empathy.  She is interested in pursuing a holistic perspective of body and mind that will help to inform her understanding of the human experience and her work in the field.

Recently, Julianna participated in the prestigious Exeter Summer College Programme at the University of Oxford, where she studied the Neuroscience of Stress and Trauma under Dr. Zoltan Sarnyai (MD, PhD, M.S.).  With Merlin, she will be continuing her research on the neuroscientific and philosophical implications of sadness and grief.  

Her fellowship involves a combination of research, writing and philosophy in the community activities.  Learn more about Julianna and her 1st year fellowship projects here!

Make a Donation Here

Our philosophy shorts and other activities are FREE to the community. While donations are never expected, they are always appreciated and help to keep programs like these going. Your tax-deductible donations help to cover honorariums, logistics, materials, implementation, resource archiving, and more! For those facing more challenging financial circumstances, we ask that you please try to “pay it forward” with acts of kindness for your neighbors and community.


Reeder’s Alley Interpretive & Convention Center
101 Reeder's Alley
Helena, MT 59601 United States
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Marisa Diaz-Waian
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