“Have a Matrix of Categories”

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“You must have a matrix of categories.” This is what my mentor told me when we met last Saturday.

Despite that we met an hour later than agreed because of miscommunication, at least I gained some insights from my mentor’s guidance. He asked for my progress, so I let him see the mind map I created, the “bits and pieces” of meanings of Edith Stein’s empathy, and the articles I already read and will have to read. I also told him that I was focused on re-reading Edith Stein’s On the Problem of Empathy.

He asked for clarification of terms. I satisfactorily answered some, but he rebuked me for my understanding of the other terms. He said that there are a lot of nuances carried by those terms. So, he strictly advised me to be exact in my understanding of those terms because Edith Stein used or understood those terms in a specific sense. For example, Edith Stein uses the word “perception,” but there is not one specific meaning for this term, for philosophers use this term in different senses. So, I must be exact by what Edith Stein means by perception when referring to empathy. Overall, then, I gained excellent guidance from my mentor.

For our next meeting, which is probably this Saturday, he said that I should present to him a matrix of categories. This is so that I will know exactly how empathy is to be understood in Steinian sense. For instance, because empathy is understood as a “cognition,” I must understand what exactly is cognition in Steinian sense, and what are its types. After knowing the meaning of cognition, I must know the similarities and dissimilarities of its types. Then, I must see where Edith Stein would put empathy on the categories (e.g., that empathy is a “sui generis” perception). My mentor told me to go on with this matrix, until I get a broad picture of what Edith Stein exactly means by empathy.

Time to read now!