Dr Alba Montes-Sanchez
Alba Montes Sánchez is Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at UCC’s Philosophy Department. Her research focuses on the philosophy of emotions and moral psychology, at the intersection of philosophy of mind and phenomenology. She earned her PhD from Carlos III University of Madrid (Spain) with a dissertation on the moral significance of shame, and thereafter worked as a postdoc at the Center for Subjectivity Research (University of Copenhagen, Denmark). Her research has been published in journals like the European Journal of Philosophy or Frontiers in Psychology and collective volumes in Cambridge University Press or Routledge.
Her current project at UCC, “The Others in Me: the Impact of Others on Self-Conscious Emotions and Self-Understanding”, is funded by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship in the framework of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme and
runs from September 2020 till August 2022. This project seeks to shed light, from a philosophical perspective, on the intersection between human self-consciousness and sociality by focusing on the social dimensions of self-conscious emotions, such as shame, envy, pride, embarrassment, and so on. Self-conscious emotions typically evaluate the one who feels them: in shame one feels degraded, in pride, one feels commendable. But sometimes these emotions seem to evaluate others: we often feel ashamed of our political leaders or proud of our children, for example (our self-conscious emotions are then “hetero-induced”). This is possible because in such occasions we activate a social identity, an identity that we share with them and that they can affect (we “group-identify” with others as belonging to the same group). We therefore feel ashamed or proud insofar as we are members of a “we” to which the other also belongs. These emotions thus are an excellent source of insight into what it means for persons to be social, since in these experiences we keenly feel that others have a clear impact on who we are. The project is divided in two parts, which focus, respectively, on how self-consciousness shapes sociality and how sociality shapes self-consciousness. The first part, “Social Ontology”, seeks to clarify and spell-out what our capacity to experience hetero-induced self-conscious emotions reveals about the social nature of persons, doing justice to our sociality without omitting individuality from the picture. The second part of the project, “Self-Knowledge”, is devoted to examining whether hetero-induced self-conscious emotions can afford self-understanding, and if so, what kind.