Session 4: Attentive Listening

Session of UvH Anniversary Conference 2014 “A Meaningful Life in a Just Society”.
Chaired by prof. Lenart Skof (University of Primorska, Slovenia)

This panel argues, that in a world we inhabit, attentive listening is becoming a virtue of its own, which could contribute towards better understanding of differences and ethical spaces between sexes, generations and cultures. Whether in interpersonal relations, or within different social and political contexts, individuals are encouraged to find a way from various forms of moral apathy and social nihilism in order to transform their modes of conduct into full respect for the other(s). With its three approaches to this task, the panel wishes to elaborate on the role of listening as attention towards others, both as individuals in different social roles, as well as victims – with their longing for recognition and acknowledgment of their loss, fear, and anger. With this, in ourselves and in a society, a place, reserved for the welcome of the other, can be imagined and construed. As in contemporary ethics and studies of intersubjectivity the role of attentive listening in various contexts and ethical spaces or between-two is often undervaluated, this panel looks for its rehabilitation through the examples of, (1) listening as our awareness and respect of the other person, (2) listening in secular humanist counselling, and (3), attention to the problematic of sexual abuse of both girls and boys within families and residential care.


  • Prof. Lenart Skof (University of Primorska, Slovenia): Breath of Hospitality: Silence, Listening, Care
  • Prof. Sietske Dijkstra (Avans Hogeschool, Netherlands): Handle Safe With care. A Reflection on Sexual Abuse in Residential Youth Care and Families
  • Wouter Kuijlman (UvH): Secular Samaritans: the emergence of humanist counselling as a helping profession (1946-1978)

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