09 September 2013, 18.00 – 19.30

KOSMOS Public Lecture: Frédérique de Vignemont (Paris)

“Feeling another’s pain”

Public lecture as part of KOSMOS Summer University (internal link)

Abstract: There has been an ubiquitous and often confusing use of the term ‘empathy’ and its cognates in recent experimental investigation of social cognition. But what actually happens when you empathize with another individual? Do you merely perceive that the other is in pain? But there is an affective valence of the state you are in that is not found in mere perception. Does that mean that you literally feel pain? But you're not injured and you do not behave as if you were really in pain. Do you then hallucinate being in pain? But the content of a hallucination is clearly false while there is a sense in which your empathy can be accurate. It may then be that you imagine being in pain. But how can your pain imagery lead to the knowledge that another individual is in pain? In this talk, I will situate empathetic states in the architecture of the mind. To do so, I will assess the relationship between empathy, perception, imagination, action and mindreading.



Berlin School of Mind and Brain
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Luisenstraße 56
Festsaal (2nd floor)
10117 Berlin