Some historical preliminaries -- Some conceptual preliminaries -- Empathy as simulation -- A priori and a posteriori empathy -- Re-enacting the thoughts of others -- Empathy and the emotions -- Empathy and ethics -- Empathy and aesthetics
Abstract When we see a child crying, the urge to help him and to comfort him comes to us spontaneously. We understand what he is experiencing, and feel in us something of his sadness, his distress: this is what we call empathy. This sense of the other is the fruit of our evolutionary history and is hardwired in our biology. Empathy has interested a lot of thinkers and in particular the Scottish philosophers of the Age of the Enlightenment such as Adam Smith or Hume. More recently, the philosophers Robert Gordon (St Louis, Missouri) and Alvin Goldman (Tuscon, Arizona) proposed the theory of simulation according to which when we understand the other, we simulate the other's point of view and we use this prospective to understand the other and predict his behavior. The French neuropscyhologist Jean Decety adopted this point of view. He specifies that the empathy is the capacity to mentally simulate the subjectivity of the other, to put ourselves in the shoes of another: it lies on biological systems.
This volume extends the theoretical scope of the important concept of empathy by analysing not only the cultural contexts that foster the generating of empathy, but in focusing also on the limits of pro-social feelings and the mechanisms that lead to its blocking.
AbstractThis article starts from the premise that empathy is an inherent part of social and political life but that this is not sufficiently theorised in International Relations (IR). Building on the burgeoning debates on emotions in world politics, it argues that the study of empathy should be developed more rigorously by establishing an interdisciplinary and critical framework for understanding the experiences and processes of empathy in IR. The central contribution of the article is twofold: firstly, it highlights limitations of the dominant perspective on empathy in IR, and secondly, it argues that a range of meanings may be attributed to empathy when examined within the sociopolitical conditions of particular contexts. Drawing on research on the conflict in Israel and Palestine, the article identifies and articulates two such alternative interpretations: empathy as non-violent resistance and as a strategy of normalisation.
What is empathy? -- The building blocks of empathy -- Why is empathy important? -- Why is empathy so difficult to achieve? -- Linking interpersonal and social empathy -- Tools for measuring and assessing empathy -- Appendix A: Research and statistical analysis on the relationship between interpersonal -- Empathy and social empathy -- Appendix B: Empathy assessment index -- Appendix C: Social empathy index -- Appendix D: Interpersonal and social empathy index -- Appendix E: Spanish translation of the empathy assessment index, the social empathy index -- And the interpersonal and social empathy index / by David Becerra and Maria del Rosario Silva -- Arciniega -- References -- Index