This lecture will discuss how various early phenomenologists by starting from an examination of empathy and other forms of dyadic interpersonal relations went on to develop analyses of larger social units in order to address questions concerning the nature of our communal being-together. More specifically, the lecture will show how an investigation of dyadic empathic encounters figures prominently in not only Husserl’s but also Scheler’s and Walther’s subsequent analysis of experiential sharing and we-intentionality. Not all phenomenologists, however, agreed with this prioritization of second-person engagement and face-to-face relationships. The lecture ends with a brief discussion of Gurwitsch’s and Heidegger’s alternative approaches.
Dan Zahavi is professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Subjectivity Research. His main topics fall in the field of phenomenology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science. He has written on the nature of selfhood, self-consciousness, intersubjectivity, social cognition, temporality, sociality, shame, empathy and collective intentionality. Zahavi is the editor a number of books including Husserl’s Phenomenology(Stanford 2003), Subjectivity and Selfhood (MIT Press 2005), The Phenomenological Mind together with S. Gallagher (Routledge 2008/2012), and Self and Other (OUP 2014). He is also co-editor in chief of the journal Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences.