“Anyone writing about empathy is trying to hit a moving target,” said empathy scholar, Lou Agosta – highlighting the term’s confusion in both common conversation and academic literature.
When we are talking about empathy, what exactly are we talking about – shared feelings, care for someone else, or perhaps a more telepathic “mind-reading” grounded in vicarious experience?
To some extent, answering these questions relies on what it is that we are really seeking when we pursue empathy. To vent? To find a solution? To receive acknowledgement or “be heard or seen”?
In this workshop, we’ll explore our roles in empathy, questioning the aim of empathetic interactions, and analyzing what empathy looks like when it’s done well. After looking at the aesthetic foundations of empathy, we’ll consider the interplay between savoring the other’s emotion and mitigating our own emotional overload.
By the end of the workshop, we’ll have some helpful vocabulary for describing empathy and new frameworks for understanding our interpersonal interactions.
(NOTE: While this workshop complements November’s “How Did We Get Here?” event on empathy, you needn’t have attended the earlier event in order to participate fully and meaningfully in the workshop.)
w/ Student Scholar Fellow Julianna Breit
When & Where
This workshop led by student scholar fellow Julianna Breit will take place in the Conference Center in Reeder’s Alley on Saturday, Dec. 10th. No prior background in philosophy is required to participate.
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.
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