Subjectivity reconsidered beyond the Cultural Divide 

Responsibility facing the 2020 Crisis 

Ever since the beginning of 2020, humanity slowly began to sense that an unprecedented ecological scourge (of untold scientific-medical, psychological, social, economic, and political consequences) has struck our world. It also raised an essentially ethical question: whether the Earth’s devastation gradually brought about since Modernity by the hybris of our technical-industrial civilization is not due to its own responsibility.

Human beings, as a part of nature but endowed with the singularity of their reflexive capacity (self-awareness), face their own finitude: the limits of their cognitive capacities, their possibilities to act and solve, and their capacities to anticipate what will come to pass. They ask who and what they are. Problems acknowledged since Modernity as those of “subjectivity” emerge under a new light.

Since Modernity, humans—masters over nature—interact with the latter by dominating it (scientia propter potentiam), rather than by their responsibility towards it. Additionally, from Descartes to 19th century positivism, subjectivity is understood ambiguously and dualistically, prioritizing the “objective” criterium. During the 20th century, the notion of “subjectivity” not only delimits the increasing rift between the analytic and continental traditions but also, ever since Husserl’s phenomenology, it affects the development of the latter in different directions.

As of late, both traditions have begun to reconsider the “enigma of subjectivity” beyond their “cultural divide.” Currently, there are debates concerning, on the one side, the dual approach to the subject both from the singular and plural “first” and “third person” perspectives; and, on the other side, the growing recognition of the originary, founding, and pervasive character of the emotional dimension at the basis of its valuing, cognitive and responsible activities. Both topics are enframed within the mind-body relation.

Facing the 2020 crisis, and called upon to assume its responsibility, the Peruvian Circle of Phenomenology and Hermeneutics summons members from different philosophical traditions to discuss these topics. This year’s keynote speakers are professors Agustín Serrano de Haro (Spain) and Dan Zahavi (Denmark).


Link to livestream