Dr. Joerg Fingerhut

Dr. Fingerhut is a postdoctoral researcher at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain. Following a PhD (cum laude) as a member of the "Collegium Picture Act & Embodiment," a joint project of art historians and philosophers, he was "Art & Neuroscience Postdoctoral Fellow” at Columbia University (2012), and assistant professor at the University of Stuttgart (2012-2015). His research focus is on the relation of embodied philosophy of mind and artifacts, such as architecture, pictures, and moving images. A specific interest lies in the cultural constitution of our mental states (integrative perspective on artifacts) and our aesthetic experience of them (interactionist perspective on artifacts). On the latter he has been collaborating with Einstein Visiting Fellow Prof. Jesse Prinz (CUNY) a leading expert in emotion theory in order to develop a theory of aesthetic emotion such as wonder and awe and their role in the evaluation of art (Fingerhut & Prinz 2018). He is a philosopher by training but has conducted a series of neurophysiological and behavioral experiments on aesthetic engagement with art. He has been using EEG technology to investigate our motor engagement with visual media such as film (in collaboration with Vittorio Gallese and Katrin Heimann), heart beat variability measures on our emotional engagement with art, as well as movement and eye-tracking technology to investigate our embodied engagement with art. He has published on the role of 4E (embedded, embodied, extended, enactive) theories of the mind in providing a bridge between the humanities and the cognitive sciences. He has presented empirical research at the main empirical aesthetics conferences (IAEA 2014,2016, 2018, SCSMI 2016, 2017, 2019, VSAC 2017). As Principal Investigator of the “Consciousness, Emotions, Values” group at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain he has been working at the interface of philosophy and empirical sciences and is an expert in mediation between different disciplines.

Relevant (selected) publications

1.) Fingerhut, J. (2018). Embodied Seeing-In, Empathy, and Expansionism. Projections, 12(2), 28–38.

2.) Fingerhut, J. (2018). Enactive Aesthetics and Neuroaesthetics. Phenomenology and Mind, (14), 80– 97.

3.) Fingerhut, J., & Prinz, J. J. (2018). Wonder, appreciation, and the value of art. In Progress in brain research (Vol. 237, pp. 107–128). Elsevier.

4.) Carbon, C.-C., & Fingerhut, J. (2017). Bridging art and the visual sciences.

5.) Fingerhut, J., & Hufendiek, R. (2017). Philosophie der Verkörperung. Die Embodied Cognition- Debatte. Information Philosophie, pp. 16–32.

Relevant (selected) projects and activities

1.) “Consciousness, Emotions, Values" (2018 – 2019). Grant by the Einstein Foundation Berlin (€240.000) to examine the role of emotions and values in the understanding of the arts and aesthetics with both an experimental as well as a philosophical focus.

2.) Organizer of the VSAC 2017 at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain. The Visual Science of Art Conference (VSAC) connects the communities of visual scientists and artists in order to deepen our understanding of aesthetic phenomena. It has been organized as a satellite conference of the ECVP (European Conference on Visual Perception), the leading European conference on visual science.

3.) Organizer of Strategies of Wonder—Symposium of the Association of Neuroesthetics (2017). This event, organized in Venice for the 57th Venice Biennale of Art, explored art’s transformative capacity and the poetics of wonder and featured discussions of artists and curators that have employed strategies of wonder or enchantment in discussion with neuroscientists, psychologists and philosophers that have worked on intense aesthetic experiences and emotions such as awe and wonder.

4.) Working on the dissemination of art and Neuroscience collaborations at the Association of Neuroesthetics. In particular, organization of the event Borderlands—Art and Neuroscience in Dialog at Volksbühne Berlin, featuring dialogue between art and cognitive science through a series of moderated discussions, artistic interventions and celebrations on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Association of Neuroesthetics.

5.) Associated Fellow in project “Picture Act and Body Knowledge” at Hermann von Helmholtz Center for Cultural Techniques (until end of 2018). The project was focused on the relation of images and “Gestaltung” on the mind and was based on high interdisciplinarity, including both empirical research and the humanities. The project was run by the Cluster of Excellence “Image Knowledge Gestaltung”.