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 Irene Scicluna

Irene Scicluna

Research student

I am a Philosophy PhD student at Cardiff University, writing about the relationship between speculation and empathy. Both are concerned with imaginative ways of considering possible and affective resonances with another entity. I argue that empathy is a speculative endeavour which can be specially geared towards Thomas Nagel’s famously slippery question about “what is it like” for another entity to have a private, sensory experience (1974).

I note that empathy is not knowing what it is like but rather feeling what it is like for another organism. In other words, what interests me is not the cogito or rational process of self-projection into the other’s emotional state but rather the automatic sensorimotor process of sentio that is even more primitive than cognition. Whitehead’s “critique of pure feeling” can be mobilised to make the speculative claim that the world is populated by experiential entities which empathise non-consciously: they generate and receive feeling and thereby concresce together (PR, 113). Under this reading, empathy becomes an ontological principle – a fundamental descriptor of the goings-on of the world.

Philosophers most relevant to my current research include Alfred North Whitehead, Edmund Husserl, Edith Stein and Isabelle Stengers.

My research is generously funded by the School of English, Communication and Philosophy (ENCAP), Cardiff University and the ENDEAVOUR Scholarships Scheme, Ministry for Education and Employment, Malta.

Research interests

Process philosophy, Speculative Philosophy, 20th and 21st century continental philosophy, Feeling, Philosophical Ecology.


  • SE4110 – Philosophy Through Fiction and Film (1st Semester 18/19)
  • SE4103 – Mind, Thought and Reality (1st and 2nd Semester 17/18)
  • SE4101 – Moral and Political Philosophy (1st and 2nd Semester 17/18)
  • SE4104 – Four Great Works of Philosophy (2nd Semester 16/17)
  • SE4107 – Critical Thinking (Substitute Teaching 16/17 and 17/18)
Josh Robinson

Dr Josh Robinson

Senior Lecturer