KLI Colloquia are informal, public talks that are followed by extensive dissussions. Speakers are KLI fellows or visiting researchers who are interested in presenting their work to an interdisciplinary audience and discussing it in a wider research context. We offer three types of talks:

1. Current Research Talks. KLI fellows or visiting researchers present and discuss their most recent research with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

2. Future Research Talks. Visiting researchers present and discuss future projects and ideas togehter with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

3. Professional Developmental Talks. Experts about research grants and applications at the Austrian and European levels present career opportunities and strategies to late-PhD and post-doctoral researchers.

  • The presentation language is English.
  • If you are interested in presenting your current or future work at the KLI, please contact the Scientific Director or the Executive Manager.

Event Details

Riana Betzler
KLI Colloquia
Finding Empathy: How neuroscientific measures, evidence, and conceptualizations interact
2018-09-25 15:00 - 2018-09-25 16:30
Organized by KLI

Topic description / abstract:

Questions about how empathy should be conceptualized have long been a preoccupation of the field of empathy research.  There are numerous definitions of empathy that have been proposed and that often overlap with other concepts such as sympathy and compassion.  This makes communication between research groups or across disciplines difficult.  Many researchers seem to see the diversity of definitions as a problem rather than as a form of benign pluralism.  Within this debate about conceptualization, researchers often express the idea that neuroscientific evidence will make this problem go away—that it will uncover underlying empathy processes and thereby also sort out conceptual difficulties.  In this paper, I challenge this assumption by examining how neuroscientists studying empathy use concepts in practice—both in the development of their measures and in the interpretation of their data. 


Biographical note:

Riana Betzler is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the KLI.  Her work focuses on issues in the philosophy of psychology—in particular, as relates to social cognition and the emotions.  She completed her PhD and MPhil in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge.  Prior to that, she attained her undergraduate degree in psychology at Yale.