Rewriting the History of Empathy

This post on the philosophical history of empathy proceeds from the following position. While we live in an understanding of what is empathy, and appreciate that empathy is central to our relations with other human beings, we really do not know what it is. Notwithstanding the excellent research that has already occurred, tradition has made empathy nearly inaccessible. The goal is to unblock our access to empathy by implementing the possibilities of an empathic inquiry. Of course, this is a bootstrap operation that has many interpretive (hermeneutic) overtones. In order to get started, the idea is to let our Socratic ignorance step into the foreground. This includes work with the ideas of Socrates, Aristotle, St. Augustine, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Theodor Lipps, Sigmund Freud. This will enrich both the concept of empathy and its concrete application in terms of human interrelations. Naturally, this requires a delicate balancing act in unpacking the rich intellectual traditions from which empathy – the phenomenon itself, not the word – emerged historically.  For futher particulars see – CHRewritingHistEmpathy20090228

Categories: Einfühlung, Other Minds, Philosophy

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