Center for Interdisziplinary Research


The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals - In Honour of Charles Darwin's 200th Birthday

Date: 5 - 6 November 2009

Convenor: ZiF

The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals

For more than 40 year Darwin rarely left his country house in Downe. Nonetheless he was intensively engaged in the scientific discourse of his time. Eve-Marie-Engels, a philosopher, cited impressive statements from Darwin’s diaries and notebooks showing not only how his thoughts on the evolution of the expression of emotions developed but also the modernity of his methods. Darwin was the first to use photographs to test the reception of emotional faces. After looking back and congratulating Darwin the talks focused on topics as the evolution and communication of laughter (Johanna Hutchinson and Marina Davila Ross) and fear (Arne Öhman), their neurobiology and their role in social situations. Sabine Döring and Paul Griffiths pointed to the philosophical dimension of topic. Döring concentrated on the role of conceptual clarification while Paul Griffiths outlined what he calls a situated perspective on emotions: Emotions are not signs of inner states but communicative means in complex social settings.

Eckart Voland who gave a public lecture in the context of the conference showed that the concept of free will may not be the result of self-knowledge but came up when trying to understand the behaviour of others.


Anja Berninger (Berlin), Jason Clark (Osnabrück), Marina Davila Ross (Portsmouth), Gerd Deutschmann (Melle), Sabine Döring (Tübingen), Eva-Maria Engelen (Berlin), Eve-Marie Engels (Tübingen), Frank Esken (Delmenhorst), Ad Foolen (Nimwegen), Paul Griffiths (Exeter), Daniela Hartmann (Osnabrück), Johanna Hutchinson (Portsmouth), Kerrin Jacobs (Osnabrück), Maria Kronfeldner (Bielefeld), Amadeus Magrabi (Osnabrück), Hans J. Markowitsch (Bielefeld), Maximiliano Martínez (Bielefeld), R. Owen Hughes Müllan (Osnabrück), Arne Öhman (Stockholm), Uwe Opolka (Delmenhorst), Andreas Olsson (Stockholm), Klaus Reinhold (Bielefeld), Andrés Sánchez (Osnabrück), Laura Schmitz (Osnabrück), Susanne Selter (Bielefeld), Achim Stephan (Osnabrück), Somogy Varga (Osnabrück), Eckart Voland (Gießen), Sven Walter (Osnabrück), Wendy Wilutzky (Osnabrück)

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