Philosophical Perspectives on Empathy: Theoretical Approaches and Emerging Challenges

1st Edition

Derek Matravers, Anik Waldow

Routledge
Published October 22, 2018
Reference - 190 Pages
ISBN 9781138584334 - CAT# K376978
Series: Routledge Studies in Ethics and Moral Theory

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Summary

Empathy—our capacity to cognitively or affectively connect with other people’s thoughts and feelings—is a concept whose definition and meaning varies widely within philosophy and other disciplines. Philosophical Perspectives on Empathy advances research on the nature and function of empathy by exploring and challenging different theoretical approaches to this phenomenon.

The first section of the book explores empathy as a historiographical method, presenting a number of rich and interesting arguments that have influenced the debate from the Nineteenth Century to the present day. The next group of essays broadly accepts the centrality of perspective-taking in empathy. Here the authors attempt to refine and improve this particular conception of empathy by clarifying the intentionality of the perspective taker’s emotion, the perspective taker’s meta-cognitive capacities, and the nature of central imagining itself. Finally, the concluding section argues for the re-evaluation, or even rejection, of empathy. These essays advance alternative theories that are relevant to current debates, such as narrative engagement and competence, attunement or the sharing of mental states, and the "second-person" model of empathy.

This book features a wide range of perspectives on empathy written by experts across several different areas of philosophy. It will be of interest to researchers and upper-level students working on the philosophy of emotions across ethics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology, and the history of philosophy.

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