Empathy and Intersubjectivity

In Heidi Maibom (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Empathy. New York: Routledge. pp. 169-179 (2017)
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Empathy is intersubjective in that it connects us mentally with others. Some theorists believe that by blurring the distinction between self and other empathy can provide a radical form of altruism that grounds all of morality and even a kind of immortality. Others are more pessimistic and maintain that in distorting the distinction between self and other empathy precludes genuine altruism. Even if these positions exaggerate self-other merging, empathy’s intersubjectivity can perhaps ground ordinary altruism and the rational recognition that one shouldn’t arbitrarily privilege oneself over others. [Note: This volume won CHOICE's Outstanding Academic Title of the Year 2018.]

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Joshua May
University of Alabama, Birmingham


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