What is the relation between empathy, our ability to experience and understand others, and emotional sharing? How do shared emotions and group membership affect or bias empathy? And can groups collectively perform, or be targets of empathy? As the first multi-level approach to the topic, the project SHARE will address this set of questions in relation to one another. It will integrate hitherto unrelated philosophical traditions, research strands and state-of-the-art empirical methods (phenomenology, social ontology, as well as social cognition research and social neuroscience).
SHARE aims not only at a better understanding of the role of emotions in interpersonal and intergroup encounters. The project’s distinctively philosophical take will also allow for a systematic re-assessment of empirical data from the social neurosciences, and yield conceptual adjustments that challenge standard literature. Regarding its yet broader socio-cultural impact, the project will contribute to research on group membership induced biases, such as research on racism, intercultural differences in emotional behaviour, or 'emotional dialects', and the 'politics' of affective identity-building.
I will significantly profit from the exceptional scientific resources of the host institution, the Center for Subjectivity Research (CFS) at the University of Copenhagen. CFS’s highly interdisciplinary research environment neatly dovetails with the project’s working hypotheses. CFS’s exceptionally wide research network, as well as the unique expertise of its director and my supervisor, Prof. Dan Zahavi, in both cutting-edge research on phenomenology of sociality, social cognition, and empathy, and in large-scale research management, will guarantee a timely implementation of the project, and promote my professional maturity. Thus, a two-year MSCA-fellowship will re-enforce my status as an independent scholar, ready to assume a permanent a position at a European university.
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