Empathy: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover


1st Edition

By Heidi Maibom


208 pages

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pub: 2020-02-24
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Empathy is one of the most talked about and widely studied concepts of recent years. Some argue it can help create a more just society, improve medical care and even avert global catastrophe. Others object that it is morally problematic. Who is right? And what is empathy anyway? Is it a way of feeling with others, or is it simply feeling sorry for them? Is it a form of knowledge? What is its evolutionary origin?

In this thorough and clearly-written introduction to the philosophy of empathy Heidi Maibom explores these questions and more, examining the following topics:

  • The nature of empathy and key themes in the literature
  • Empathy as a way of understanding others, particularly 'simulation theory’ and 'perspective-taking'
  • Empathy, emotional contagion, and sympathy
  • Empathy’s role in moral understanding or motivation
  • Empathy and art appreciation, with examples from film, music and fiction
  • Empathy and mental disorder, such as psychopathy and autism.

Including chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary, Empathy is an excellent resource for students of philosophy of mind and psychology, psychology, and cognitive science, as well as for those in related subjects such as art, literature and politics.

Table of Contents

1. What is Empathy?

2. Empathy and Understanding Others

3. Empathy and Feeling for and with Others

4. Empathy and Morality

5. Empathy and Art

6. Empathy and Mental Disorder

7. The Future of Empathy Studies.



About the Author

Heidi L. Maibom is Professor of Philosophy at University of Cincinnati, USA. She is editor of The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Empathy (2017) and Empathy and Morality (2014), and co-editor of Neurofeminism with R. Bluhm and A.J. Jacobsen (2012). She is currently writing a book on perspective taking.

About the Series

New Problems of Philosophy

New Problems of Philosophy

Series Editor: José Luis Bermúdez, Texas A&M University

'Routledge's New Problems of Philosophy series has a most impressive line-up of topical volumes aimed at upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in philosophy and at others with interests in cutting edge philosophical work. The authors are influential figures in their respective fields and notably adept at synthesizing and explaining intricate topics fairly and comprehensively.' - John Heil, Monash University, Australia, and Washington University, St Louis, USA

'This is an outstanding collection of volumes. The topics are well chosen and the authors are outstanding. They will be fine texts in a wide range of courses.' - Stephen Stich, Rutgers University, USA

The New Problems of Philosophy series provides accessible and engaging surveys of the most important problems in contemporary philosophy. Each book examines a topic or theme that has emerged on the philosophical landscape in recent years, or that is a longstanding problem refreshed in light of recent work in philosophy and related disciplines. Clearly explaining the nature of the problem at hand and assessing attempts to answer it, books in the series are excellent starting-points for undergraduate and graduate students wishing to study a single topic in depth. They will also be essential reading for professional philosophers. Additional features include chapter summaries, further reading, and a glossary of technical terms.

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