An Epistemic Case for Empathy

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (1):47-71 (2014)
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Much recent work on empathy assumes that one cannot give non-question-begging reasons for empathizing with others. In this article I argue that there are epistemic reasons for cultivating empathy. After sketching a brief general account of empathy, I proceed to argue that empathic information is user-friendly, fostering the achievement of widely held cognitive goals. It can also contribute to social knowledge and the satisfaction of democratic ideals. The upshot of my analysis is that there are strong, but defeasible, epistemic reasons for empathizing with others

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Justin Steinberg
Brooklyn College (CUNY)


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