Empathy, Imagination, and Phenomenal Concepts

In In Other Shoes: Music, Metaphor, Empathy, Existence. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 1-16 (2015)
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Abstract

I propose a way of understanding empathy on which it does not necessarily involve any-thing like thinking oneself into another’s shoes, or any imagining at all. Briefly, the empa-thizer uses an aspect of her own mental state as a sample, expressed by means of a phenomenal concept, to understand the other person. This account does a better job of explaining the connection between empathetic experiences and the objects of empathy than most traditional ones do. And it helps to clarify the relations among different varieties of empathy and empathy-like experiences, including empathy with fictional characters.

Author's Profile

Kendall Walton
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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