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Course Details

Spring 2012-2013
* GER 306 (EC)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

German Intellectual History - Compassion, Pity, Empathy

Sigrid Weigel

The discovery of the mirror neurons (that are regarded as neuronal resonance mechanism to engender embodied simulations within the relation to the other) has initiated an epoch of empathy in various sciences (brain research, psychology, sociology). Since the term empathy stems from a translation of the German word Einfühlung (in aesthetic theory around 1900), the seminar will examine the recent idea of empathy (1) in front of the horizon of its prehistory in the humanities and (2) in comparison with related ideas like pity and compassion.

Sample reading list:
Vittorio Gallese, The Roots of Empathy
Friedrich Theodor Vischer, Das Symbol
Theodor Lipps, Psychologie des Schönen; Das Wissen von fremden Ichen
Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Hamburgische Dramaturgie
Max Scheler, Wissen und Form der Sympathie
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
30-50 pages in German a week; presentation in class with handout; one mid-term paper; one longer final essay.

Paper in Lieu of Mid Term - 20%
Paper in lieu of Final - 35%
Oral Presentation(s) - 15%
Class/Precept Participation - 30%

Prerequisites and Restrictions:
GER 107 or equivalent.

Other information:
Taught in German based on texts in German and English. For students interested in the history of aesthetics, psychology, the sciences, literature, and philosophy.

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
42951 S01 01:30:00 pm - 02:50:00 pm M W   East Pyne Building   215   Enrolled:8 Limit:25