Symposium 2017: Me & I 

Me & I. Conceptual and empirical perspectives on the self

15 and 16 March 2017

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin School or Mind and Brain

Symposium organizers

Vittorio Gallese, Laura Kaltwasser, Luca Settembrino

Supported by Einstein Foundation Berlin and Berlin School of Mind and Brain


Despite some recent attempts to deny its existence both in Western (Metzinger, 2003, 2009) and Eastern (Shiah, 2016) philosophical debate, the notion of ‘self’ still remains a central concept in many research areas concerned with the human being, such as philosophy, psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, and anthropology. However, different disciplines – as well as different perspectives and methods within one discipline – refer to diverse conceptualizations of selfhood. As a result, we witness a proliferation of a variety of notions, notably including the minimal self (Zahavi, 2010), the narrative self (Fivush & Haden, 2003), the bodily self (Gallese & Sinigaglia, 2010), and the social self (Brewer, 1991), just to mention a few.

The aim of this two-day Symposium is therefore to integrate different perspectives and foster a dialogue between experts from different fields, in order to reach a better understanding of selfhood and its various characterizations.

We will encourage a multidisciplinary discussion about the self and its development, trying to answer relevant questions such as:

  • How could we define the self? What is the relationship between the different existing concepts of the self?
  • What is the role of autobiographical memory and narrative practices in shaping our identity?
  • How do interoceptive awareness and the embodiment of emotions contribute to the bodily sense of the self? Are they also related to higher order notions of the self, such as the social self?
  • How is the self altered in schizophrenia?
  • How does the sense of the self develop in (early) infancy? What are the social and cultural factors influencing this development?

Symposium sessions

The Symposium, hosted by the Einstein Visiting Fellow Professor Vittorio Gallese, will be organized into three sessions, each devoted to different but related conceptual and empirical aspects of the self:

(1)        The concept(s) of the self: phenomenological and narrative accounts
(2)        The developmental and socio-cultural aspects of the self
(3)        The bodily self and its pathologies

Preliminary Program

Wednesday, 15 March 2017
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Berlin School of Mind and Brain | Festsaal | 2nd floor | Luisenstraße 56, 10117 Berlin

12.30 – 13-00    Registration &  Coffee           
13.00 – 13.30    Introduction
                          Vittorio Gallese, Laura Kaltwasser & Luca Settembrino
                          (Berlin School of Mind and Brain)
Session I: Narrative Self and Memory
13.30 – 14.45    Keynote Lecture & Discussion
                          Dan Zahavi (Copenhagen)
                          Conceptual clarification of the notion of “self”:
                          from minimal to narrative self

14.45 – 15.15    Coffee Break           

15.15 – 16.00    Lecture & Discussion
                          Richard Menary (Macquarie)

16.00 – 16.45    Lecture & Discussion
                          Change: Tilmann Habermas (Frankfurt/Main)

16.45 – 17.15    Coffee Break           

17.15 – 18.00    Lecture & Discussion
                          Verena Hafner (HU Berlin)
                          Special issue: The self in artifical intelligence

18.00 – 19.30    Poster Session with Drinks & Snacks

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Berlin School of Mind and Brain | Festsaal | 2nd floor | Luisenstraße 56, 10117 Berlin

09.00 – 9.15    Morning Coffee
Session II: Developmental and Sociocultural Aspects of the Self   
09.15 – 10.30    Keynote Lecture & Discussion
                          Philippe Rochat (Emory)
                          The development of the self in early childhood

10.30 – 11.00    Coffee Break           

11.00 – 11.45    Lecture & Discussion
                          Isabel Dziobek (HU Berlin)   

11.45 – 12.30    Lecture & Discussion
                          Vasu Reddy (Portsmouth)

12.30 – 13.30    Lunch Break
Session III: The Bodily Self and its Pathologies
13.30 – 14.15    Lecture & Discussion
                          Sarah Garfinkel (Sussex)

14.15 – 15.00    Lecture & Discussion
                          Francesca Ferri (Essex)   

15.00 – 15.30    Coffee Break           

15.30 – 16.15    Lecture & Discussion
                          Martin Voss (Charité)   

16.15 – 17.00    Lecture & Discussion
                          Manos Tsakiris (Royal Holloway)   

17.00 – 17.15    Short Coffee Break           

17.15 – 18.00    Final Discussion
                          Vittorio Gallese, Laura Kaltwasser & Luca Settembrino
                          (Berlin School of Mind and Brain)   

18.00 – 19.00    Break & Registration for Public Keynote Lecture
                       (in German)           

19.00 – 20.00    Public Keynote Lecture & Discussion (in German),
                          in cooperation with Mind, Brain & Body Symposium 2017:
                          Christine Heim (Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin)
                          Neurobiologische Folgen früher Stresserfahrung
                          Moderator: Arno Villringer (Berlin/Leipzig)

Registration for “Me & I

Please follow this link:

Registration will be open till 15 January 2017 and requires the submission of a poster abstract.


Dr Laura Kaltwasser,, tel. +49 (0)30 2093-1724

Cooperation withMind, Brain & Body Symposium

Please note that after the Einstein Symposium Me & I, the related Mind, Brain & Body Symposium 2017 (MBBS2017) will take place at the same venue (16–17 March 2017). All participants are warmly invited to also join the MBB2017 symposium for which you can register here.

This page last updated on: 14 March 2017


Dr Laura Kaltwasser

Tel. +49 30 2093-1724