UP2: Interpersonal Understanding and Endorsement (Essen)

Interpersonal understanding seems to have an evaluative dimension. That is, it seems to require an element of “endorsement” of the target person, her mental states, or her behaviour. This becomes particularly evident in negative cases of avowals of lack of understanding, in which subjects express that they really cannot understand how X could do Y, even though they can give an adequate explanation of X’s behaviour. While positive cases of avowals of understanding, such as “I really understand you”, are less common, this evaluative dimension is also elucidated by the fact that interpersonal understanding is often taken to be closely related to morally valuable relationships. Interpersonal understanding is, for example, frequently connected to forgiveness as evidenced by the German phrase “Wir bitten um Verständnis” as well as the French proverb “Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner”. Moreover, being an understanding person is often seen as a moral virtue, which would be puzzling on a purely epistemic view of interpersonal understanding. The subproject aims at constructing a theory of the evaluative component of interpersonal understanding referred to as “endorsement” as well as a related account of the virtue of being an understanding person.

Katharina Sodoma PhEEL
​Katharina Anna Sodoma

Katharina worked on the project from September 2020 to August 2023, focusing on the role of "endorsement" in empathy and interpersonal understanding. Before joining the project, she was a doctoral student at the University of Vienna, where she defended her dissertation on moral relativism and the possibility of moral progress in April 2020. Since October 2023, she has been a postdoc at LMU. Her recent work focuses on affective empathy in political contexts.

Kontakt: katharina.anna.sodoma@gmail.com


Sodoma, Katharina Anna (2022). Emotional Gaslighting and Affective Empathy. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 30 (3):320-338.

Sodoma, Katharina Anna & Sharp, Daniel (2023). Democratic Empathy and Affective Polarization. Social Philosophy Today 39:71-87.