On October 15, 2013, Dr. Andrew Pinsent visited the University campus and delivered a lecture titled «The Second Person Perspective: Philosophy and Cognitive Sciences in Dialogue.» The event was organized by the Institute of Philosophy and the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and was attended by faculty members and researchers from both academic units.
During the lecture, Dr. Pinsent discussed the notion of «person,» which, although in modern Western philosophy, has an ethical connotation, its terminological origin is perhaps forgotten, stemming from theology, which coined it in an attempt to explain the Holy Trinity. The concept of person was highly relevant in recognizing human dignity, and Thomas Aquinas emphasized the essential aspect of the person’s relationship with the other.
Centuries later, Martin Buber was the first to speak of the so-called «second-person perspective»: an encounter between two minds that share attention to something. Current research in cognitive sciences has recognized the importance of this approach, opening new horizons for dialogue between the sciences, philosophy, and theology.
Andrew Pinsent is the Director of Research at the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at the University of Oxford. He is a Research Fellow at Harris Manchester College and a member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at Oxford. He holds a doctorate in Physics from the University of Oxford (UK), a degree in Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome), and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Saint Louis University (USA).