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UFS starts lecture series on reconciliation and empathy
2012-02-28

 

Attending the inaugural Dialogue between Science and Society lecture were from left: Profs Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Jean Decety,Dr Melike Fourie, a researcher at the University of Cape Town,  and Prof. Driekie Hay, Vice-Rector: Academic.
Photo: Johan Roux
28 February 2012


The University of the Free State has begun with the first of a series of lectures that will deal with issues of humanity.

The Dialogue between Science and Society Lecture series, hosted by Prof. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, will bring together different disciplines such as Psychology, Psychoanalysis, Neuroscience and Literature to explore the broad field of reconciliation and empathy.
 
Prof. Jean Decety, a leading scholar in the social neuroscience of empathy at the University of Chicago delivered the inaugural lecture on 23 February 2012. He spoke about the social neuroscience of empathy and moral reasoning.
 
Drawing lessons from US president Barack Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, Prof. Decety opened his speech with a quote on empathy as the glue that makes much of social life possible. He said a feeling of empathy means putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes. Prof. Decety discussed in depth the link between empathy and helping, saying that it linked to morality.
 
Prof. Gobodo-Madikizela, author of the bookA human being died that night: a South African story of forgiveness, on her interviews with convicted Vlakplaas murderer Eugene de Kock, recently joined our university.

 

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