Kinaesthetic Empathy

Dialogue and Universalism 13 (11-12):151-162 (2003)
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The paper discusses kinaesthetic empathy based on the German philosopher Edith Stein’s theory of empathy. Applying Stein’s study of empathy, this paper examines empathy as a particular form of the act of knowing. Instead of a mere emotion, empathy entails a re-living or a placing ourselves ‘inside’ another’s experience. We may grasp another’s living, moving body as another centre orientation of the world through our own kinaesthetic sense and body topography. Kinaesthetic empathy seems to have a partial capacity to make sense of others’ experiential movements and reciprocally our own bodily movements. It makes possible to understand the non-verbal kinetic experiences through which we may acquire knowledge of the other’s bodily movements on the basis of our own body topography. There is recognition that we never reach the other’s primordial movement experience.

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Jaana Parviainen
Tampere University


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