The Value of Empathy explores various approaches to understanding empathy and investigates its moral and practical role.
The central role of empathy in understanding others, and the need for it in our social and inter-personal encounters, is widely acknowledged by philosophers, social scientists and psychologists alike. Discussions of empathy abound, not only in more specialised academic publications, but also in traditional and social media. Yet neither a clear understanding, nor a uniform definition of this relatively new term is available. Indeed, one difficulty in discussing empathy, in philosophy and beyond, is the profusion of definitions; the difficulty is compounded by a lack of clarity in the distinction between empathy and cognate concepts such as sympathy and compassion.
This book has two aims: Chapters 1–5 seek to address the dual concerns of the lack of clarity and profusion of interpretations by suggesting new ways of approaching the topic. The second aim of the book is to connect the more abstract discussions of empathy with its normative functions. Chapters 6–8 engage with the theoretical concerns relevant to the ethics of empathy and raise interesting points about its significance in ethical thought and action. The final four chapters focus on the practical normative significance of empathy by examining the connections between empathy, vulnerability and care in circumstances of ill health.
The chapters in this book were originally published in the International Journal of Philosophical Studies.
Introduction: The Value of Empathy
Maria Baghramian, Meliné Papazian and Rowland Stout
1. The Relational Value of Empathy
2. Relational Empathy
3. Language, Behaviour, and Empathy. G.H. Mead’s and W.V.O. Quine’s Naturalized Theories of Meaning
4. No Empathy for Empathy: An Existential Reading of Husserl’s Forgotten Question
5. Finding Empathy: How Neuroscientific Measures, Evidence and Conceptualizations Interact
Riana J. Betzler
6. The Contribution of Empathy to Ethics
7. The Empathetic Soldier
8. Sentimentalist Practical Reason and Self-Sacrifice
9. Pathophobia, Vices, and Illness
Ian James Kidd
10. Beyond Empathy: Vulnerability, Relationality and Dementia
11. Empathy, Respect, and Vulnerability
12. Empathy, Vulnerability and Anxiety