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ESDiT Event

Date: May 28, 2024
Time: 2:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Location: TU Delft Auditorium Conference Center
Academic event

On 28 May at TU Delft, Caroline Bollen will defend her PhD thesis ‘Empathy 2.0: what it means to be empathetic in a diverse and digital world’.

We typically use the concept of Empathy in a normative way – to express appreciation, concern, value, risks, etc… – with regard to how we relate to one another. However, the exact meaning of the concept is far from agreed upon. As such, it actually is unclear whether and how we can fairly use this concept for ethical reflection and guidance. But we do so anyway, and that is not without problems. One of these problems is that there is a strong link between how empathy is operationalised in research and the exclusion of autistic empathy. Furthermore, communication technologies (CTs) significantly shape our social lives and our ways of relating to one another, and it is unclear how to best understand empathy in light of this.

The aim of Caroline Bollen’s dissertation is to expose present-day problems with how we understand empathy and provide a solution: an account of empathy as a normative concept to better serve the 21st century and its social and sociotechnical challenges. The research in this dissertation highlights a fundamental and humbling notion: my experience of the world is not the same as yours, but also not completely disconnected from it. Across differences, along similarities, we share a world with each other. I hope that this work on empathy 2.0 can help us understand and navigate that a bit better.

You are all invited to join the PhD defense at 14:30 CEST in the auditorium of the TU Delft or watch it via the livestream: https://nmclive.tudelft.nl/mediasite/play/86ee06e3689b423897b8a6d6c8495cb31d