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Programme of Events 2019-20

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Philosophy Department Colloquium: Karen Simecek (Warwick)

Location: OC1.07, Oculus Building

Title: 'Poetry, Affectivity and Self-Understanding'


When thinking of affect and emotion, it is tempting to see this as a route to understanding and gaining knowledge of others. Literature on empathy, sympathy and the underlying mechanisms such as mirror neurons has blossomed in recent years, leading to an understanding of the emotions and affect as a way of bridging the gap to other minds. What I set out to do in this paper is complicate such focus on interpersonal emotions and affective states by highlighting how they in fact fail to provide full understanding of others yet can make significant contribution to our self-understanding that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. I will argue that in fact such self-understanding is inaccessible without making the effort to reach out to others and feel connections with others that poetry can facilitate. Poetry is inherently perspectival and consequently provides an opportunity to reflect on the possibilities of sharing beliefs, values and commitments.


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