The Centre for Philosophical and Humanistic Studies (CEFH) of the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Catholic University of Portugal was established in 2007 as a result of the fusion of two research units, namely the older Centre for Philosophical Studies and the Centre for Humanistic Studies. CEFH aims to investigate, in a multidisciplinary perspective, the relationship between Person and Society in its philosophical and ethical, linguistic and communicative, cultural and literary, psychological and educational dimensions. The long tradition of philosophical and philosophical humanistic research in the Faculty of Philosophy, particularly embodied in Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia (founded in 1945), the incorporation of new research areas such as Cognitive Sciences and Psychology, and the multidisciplinary profile characterize the position of the CEFH in the national and international scenes.
CEFH subject areas are philosophy as main scientific area, linguistics, literary studies, and psychology. Reflecting its multidisciplinary nature and exploring in an integrated and systematic way the relationship between Individual and Society, the Centre comprises four research groups (RG): RG1, “Foundations, rationalities and society in contemporary times”; RG2, “Language, cognition and society”; RG3, “Memory and literary dialogues”;, and RG4 “Developmental pathways and contexts of life”. The investigation focuses on four crucial aspects of the individual’s relationship with the world and the others: (i) new and diverse forms of Nature’s impact on rationality; (ii) linguistic meaning as embodied and socioculturally situated conceptualization; (iii) the cultural memory dialogically reinterpreted in literary text; and (iv) developmental pathways in health and education.
RG1 is organized into two research projects, namely “The sacred, rationality(ies), community(ies)” and “Aesthetics, arts, and human realization”. The first project explores the theme of Nature in its broad sense, and the interaction of its cosmic, human, psychosocial structures, within the most recent scientific, philosophical and theological interpretations. The second project proposes ways of humanization through aesthetic and artistic expression, exploring the potential of contemporary artistic creation and its interaction with philosophical trends and culture(s) of our times.
RG2 includes two research projects: “Linguistic meaning and conceptualization: mind, experience, and variation” in the field of Linguistics and “Communication, media and audiences” in the area of Communication Sciences. Its main objective is to approach the linguistic structures of Portuguese and other languages and political and advertizing media discourses as manifestations of socio-culturally situated cognitive mechanisms and processes of conceptualization.
The fundamental objective of RG3 is to promote critical studies in the literary and cultural field, in the light of a highly inter-textual and comparative perspective, taking as its starting point the Greco-Roman classics, and as its arrival point the Portuguese contemporary authors.
RG4 aims to study human development, as a multi-linear and multidimensional process that allows for many individual pathways that influence and are influenced by the life contexts. For its implementation, two research projects are proposed: “Health: psychosocial and behavioral factors”, and “Education and social inclusion”.
The research groups undertake the interdisciplinary experientialist principle which postulates that human thought is determined by our organic embodiment and by our individual, social, cultural and historical experiences. In order to develop this integrated view of mind-body-society-culture, it is applied an empirical, hermeneutic and maximally contextualizing methodology.
Interdisciplinary research is instantiated in three thematic clusters interconnecting the research groups: (i) phenomenological, embodied and cognitive approaches to (inter)subjectivity; (ii) affectivity and emotions; and (iii) memory and change. Cross-group concepts include embodiment, situatedness, meaning, emotion, memory, dynamics, intersubjectivity, causality, and creativity.
CEFH is funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT).