Empathy, familiarity, and togetherness: from offline to online

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In this paper, I consider the role that epistemic familiarity plays in our empathetic perception and our feeling togetherness with others. To do this, I distinguish between what I have dubbed familiarity by acquaintance and familiarity by resemblance and explore their role in our empathetic experiences and various forms of feeling togetherness with others both offline and online. In particular, I resist the idea that we should caveat experiences of online empathy and online togetherness with the requirement of already being familiar by acquaintance with the relevant person in the offline world. In contrast, familiarity by resemblance appears to play a crucial role in shaping our experiences of others, emphasising that what we experience as another’s expressive experience and how we experience that expressive experience is permeated by previous intersubjective encounters whether online or offline.

Author's Profile

Lucy Osler
Cardiff University


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