Lou  Agosta Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Lou Agosta

Empathy Consultant
Illinois School of Professional Psychology

My commitment is to a gracious and generous listening – empathy. I have performed significant academic, scholarly work on empathy in order to make my commitment to a gracious and generous listening (empathy) a professional as well as a personal reality. My intention is that empathy be less of a rumor and an expanding reality in the life of the community.


My commitment is to provide a gracious and generous listening – empathy. I engage with issues in emotions, relationships, and careers. One area of concentration – an area that seems to be underserved – includes the dynamic containing and transforming of domestic violence and intimate partner abuse. I have completed the Illinois Certified Domestic Violence training program of the Illinois Certified Partner Abuse Intervention program. In addition to dealing with patient recovery from intimate partner abuse, I work with patients dealing with mood disorders, relationship challenges, eating disorders, and issues in self psychology. My Ph.D. is in philosophy from the University of Chicago. My practice is located on the north east side of Chicago (60660), and I am flexible about fees and schedule.

My professional resume includes being on the faculty of the Illinois School of Professional Psychology where I teach  courses in Empathy in the History and Systems of Psychology and the Cognitive and Affective Basis of Human Behavior. I have taught college and university courses for about ten years at Roosevelt University, DePaul, Loyola, St Xavier Universities and Oakton Community College (Chicago). My writings include publications on empathy, human understanding, psychotherapy, and psychoanalysis. I am the founder and director of The Chicago Empathy Project, including producing educational videos with the theme “A Rumor of Empathy…” I practice psychotherapy in Chicago (Illinois (USA)). See also http://www.LouAgosta.com


    Ph.D. Philosophy University of Chicago, Chicago, USA

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    01. A Rumor of Empathy: Resistance, Narrative, and Recovery in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (Routledge 2015): Go here: http://louagosta.com/publications/
    [My commitment is to a gracious and generous listening – empathy. I have performed significant academic, scholarly work on empathy in order to make my commitment to a gracious and generous listening (empathy) a professional as well as a personal reality. My intention is that empathy be less of a rumor and an expanding reality in the life of the community.]

    02. A Rumor of Empathy: Rewriting Empathy in the Context of Philosophy. This work provides a short history of the distinction “empathy” in the ideas of Hume, Kant, Lipps, Freud, Scheler, Stein (Edith), and Husserl.  “Okay, I’ve read enough – I want to order to book.” Go here: http://louagosta.com/publications/

    03. Empathy in the Context of Philosophy is the title of a web site and the title of a book: GO here: http://louagosta.com/publications/

    04. A Rumor of Empathy in the Philosophy of Martin Heidegger. Go here: http://louagosta.com/publications/ [Note: May also be purchased at Springer.com if you do not want a pre-publication page layout version.] Heidegger was one of the inventors of existentialism, though he rejected that label. This essay develops a four part definition of empathy out of the Dasein-analysis of Martin Heidegger – empathic receptivity, empathic understanding, empathic interpretation, and empathic responsiveness (in language) are developed out of Heidegger’s design distinctions for human beings (affectivity (Befindlichkeit), understanding, interpretation as a derivative form of understanding, and speech):

    05. Chapter Six of my empathy book is where Heinz Kohut’s notion of empathy as vicarious introspection is engaged from the perspective of psychoanalysis as a hermeneutic discipline: Go here:  http://louagosta.com/publications/

    06. Chapter Three of my empathy book on “Empathy Between Death and the Other”: Go here:   http://louagosta.com/publications/

    07. This essay is a chapter in the two volumes Empathy I and II edited by Joe Lichtenberg and others. It looks at how empathy is the foundation of human intersubjectivity, where “intersubjectivity” is used in the sense of the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl. A kind of Kantian transcendental argument is developed out of a single paragraph in Heinz Kohut’s Self Psychology: Go here:  http://louagosta.com/publications/

    08. Before there was “empathy” there was “sympathy.” This essay engages four different definitions of “sympathy” in David Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature (1739), and, yes, the overlap and differences with “empathy” are significant. Go here: http://louagosta.com/publications/

    09. A book review by yours truly of Arnold Goldberg’s book, The Analysis of Failure on what can be learned from failed psychoanalytic cases (which is much). Go here: http://louagosta.com/publications/

    10. This is one of my favorite legacy publications, which looks at images of fragmentation and integration of the self in one of the classic folktales edited by the Brothers Grimm. It makes the point that without empathy a significancy aspect of our humanity is missing. The hero of the story does not know who to experience shuddering (visceral fear, goose flesh). That experience is a “proxy” or substitute for his entire capacity to experience emotions. Without that capacity, he lacks humanity. The hero’s fairy tale journey and adventure in the world allows him to recover his empathy and become a whole and complete human being. The Recovery of Feelings in the Folktale. Go here:  http://louagosta.com/publications/

    11. Heidegger on Aristotle’s Account of the Emotions. This essay engages the account of the emotions provided by Aristotle. Amazingly enough, the most complete account of the emotions provided by Aristotle is not in his psychology but in his Rhetoric. The speaker has to understand the emotions in order to arouse and de-arouse (quiet) them. Heidegger points this out in Being and Time (1927) where Heidegger says (in so many words) that this is the “best ever” account of the emotions. However, Heidegger is doing fundamental ontology and leaves this aspect of the emotions undeveloped. This essay develops it further. This Hot Link is an essay on this subject published in Philosophy Today (Dec 2010) – Go here – http://louagosta.com/publications/

    12. An early version of the above-cited multidimensional definition of empathy: Go here: http://louagosta.com/publications/

    13. This legacy essay explains why Kant scholars should be interested in fairy tales. Go here:  http://louagosta.com/publications/

    14. An essay that looks at archeological metaphors in Freud and philosophy, inspired by Paul Ricoeur’s book on Freud and its use of the archeological metaphor. Caution – the attached file is large (21MB)  – so if it does not load for you, please leave me a comment and i will break it up into parts, okay? For further details, go here:  – http://louagosta.com/publications/

Personal Interests

    Living literally on the shore of Lake Michigan (Chicago, USA), I enjoy jogging, biking, swimming (weather permitting) with friends and family and by myself.



Featured Title
 Featured Title - A Rumor of Empathy - 1st Edition book cover


Empathy Triple Play: Dr Lou Hosts A Rumor of Empathy on Voice America Talk Radio

By: Lou Agosta
Subjects: Education, Philosophy

Dr Lou hosts a weekly talk radio show entitled a Rumor of Empathy (same as Lou's books). Interviewing thought leaders in empathy so that empathy may be less of a rumor and an expanded reality in the community. Tune in weekly at noon (Chicago time / CDT / GMT+1) for an engaging conversation about empathy - and how to expand yours: http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2448/a-rumor-of-empathy 


A Rumor of Empathy ... in Psychology

Published: Apr 23, 2013

I gave the class an assignment to ask five people "How do you define empathy?" and report back to the class. Also included are a few people who are not in the class. They all signed waivers to allow video taping. I did the cutting and pasting. Watch for the individual who reports his experiences with AA. Not to be missed. The consensus? Most people believe that "empathy" means "compassion".