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Empathy, Sympathy and Compassion. The Dynamics of Other-Oriented Emotions - 13-14/04/2018, Pittsburg

Empathy, sympathy and compassion are emotions that help initiate a meaningful relationship between the individual and the outside world. They affirm and express an individual’s sense of belonging to his or her environment, and can help strengthen the coherence of a wider social fabric. If expressed towards those who do not participate in one’s own community, they may help remove perceived boundaries and divisions. At the same time, one may wish to stop short of considering these benevolent other-directed emotions as reliable sources of, or attendants upon, virtuous and reasonable action. Indeed, they might be seen as subjective impulses that hinder, rather than help, an accurate assessment of a given situation, and perhaps be to the detriment of the compassionate agent, and/or of the individual affected by it.

FECHA/DATE/DATA: 13-14/04/2018

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA, USA)


INFO: web -



Friday April 13th 2018. Henry Heymann Theatre, University of Pittsburgh 4301 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15260

1:30 – 2 p.m. Registration & Coffee

2 – 2:15 p.m. Welcoming Remarks: Jonathan Arac, Andrew W. Mellon Professor, Department of English; Director, University of Pittsburgh Humanities Center

2:15 – 3:15 p.m. Keynote Speech: Peter Meineck, NYU:

“Ancient Empathy in Action: The Absorbing Drama of the Polis”

3:30 – 4:15 p.m. Performance by Christopher Staley, University of Pittsburgh: “Demonstrating the Actor’s Process: Empathic Projection in Sophocles’ Ajax”

Session II: Empathy, Sympathy and Compassion in Classical Antiquity

7th Floor Auditorium, Alumni Hall University of Pittsburgh, 4227 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15260

4:30 – 4:45 p.m. Coffee Break

5 – 6 p.m. Jacques Bromberg, University of Pittsburgh:

“Empathy and Probability in Early Greek Speechcraft”

6:15 – 7:15 p.m. Vivian Feldblyum, University of Pittsburgh:

“Aristotle on Kindness, Pity, and Natural Friendship”

7:30 p.m. Dinner with Speakers

Saturday April 14th 2018, Conference Room A, University Club, 123 University Place, Pittsburgh PA, 15260

9 a.m. Continental Breakfast

Session III: Empathy, Sympathy and Compassion in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

9:30 – 10:30 a.m. Christina Hoenig, University of Pittsburgh:

“Augustine and the Metaphysics of Compassion”

10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Simo Knuuttila, University of Helsinki, Finland:

“Compassion in Late Medieval Moral Psychology”

11.45 a.m. – 1 p.m. Lunch with Participants

Session III: Empathy, Sympathy and Compassion. Other-Oriented Emotions in Contemporary Contexts.

1 – 2 p.m. Owen Flanagan, Duke University:

“Anger: The Most Destructive Emotion”

2 – 3 p.m. Meri Long, University of Pittsburgh:

“Compassion and Immigration Policy Preferences”

3 – 3:15 p.m. Coffee Break

3:15 – 4:15 p.m. Wayne Wu, Carnegie Mellon University:

“Emotion and Attention: Tuning to the Social World”

4:15 – 5:15 p.m. Epilogue: Christian Wildberg, Princeton University/University of Pittsburgh:

“On the Struggle for Empathy”

6 p.m. Dinner with Speakers

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