[SydPhil] REMINDER & NEW LOCATION (Quad S422): USyd Postgrad Colloquium June 2: Millie Churcher: 'Transformative Imaginings: When Adam met Sally'

Elena Walsh elenawalsh at gmail.com
Thu May 29 14:44:12 AEST 2014

> Dear all,
> The next USyd philosophy postgraduate colloquium  will be held on Monday
> June 2 @ 2pm
> ​in room S422
>  (Quadrangle building, University of Sydney).  All very welcome!!
> Talk details:
> Speaker:  Millie Churcher
> Title:  Transformative Imaginings:  When Adam Met Sally
> Early modern sentimentalist philosopher Adam Smith argues for a conception
> of morality grounded in sentiment rather than in pure reason. Our ability
> to sympathise with others is what binds us together as moral agents and
> motivates us to act ethically. On Smith’s account sympathy refers to the
> psychological mechanism or capacity through which we understand, and
> identify with, what another person is feeling. This process relies heavily
> on our capacity for imaginative perspective-taking.  In this paper I
> defend the value of sympathy – and by extension, Smith’s moral
> sentimentalism ­- against those who argue that our capacity to feel for
> devalued social *groups *is too limited for sympathy to have any real
> ethical and political import. I argue that the scope of our
> fellow-feeling can be dramatically enlarged in instances where sympathy
> with another disrupts and transforms one’s imaginary body.  Drawing on
> Sally Haslanger’s reflections upon her lived experience of transracial
> parenting (2005) I conclude that sympathetic identification with an
> individual whose body is marked as ‘different’ within a society can be
> deeply transformative for the sympathiser, which sees feelings of good-will
> generated in intimate contexts of parenting, romantic partnerships or
> friendships extend out towards wider socio-political groups.
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