Imagining Others

Analysis (forthcoming)
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Abstract

How good are we at imagining what it is like to be someone else? Clearly, we sometimes get it right. Proponents of empathy suggest that it is an important and useful tool in our interactions with other people. But, also clearly, there are many inauspicious instances where we badly misimagine what it is like to be someone else. In this paper, I consider the epistemic utility of empathic imagination. I argue that most views fail to explain the distinctive patterns of success and failure of empathic imagination, and I put forward a view that seems to offer the best explanation of those patterns.

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Shannon Spaulding
Oklahoma State University

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