Article ID: CBB001213767

A Brief Conceptual History of Einfühlung: 18th-Century Germany to Post-World War II U.S. Psychology (2013)


This brief conceptual history, modeled on Koselleck's Begriffsgeschichte, adds to earlier histories of empathy. It showed that Johann Gottfried Herder, not Robert Vischer, invented Einfühlung as an objective scholarly method during 18th-century absolutist--relativist disputes. Original 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century scholarly texts demonstrated that continued attempts to redress these disputes drove many of Einfühlung's conceptual transformations. Empathy first appeared in U.S. scientific psychology as a personal characteristic when relativists sought to redress the absolutist--relativist methodological dispute that began between John Watson and Edward Titchener. The conclusion notes limitations to this Begriffsgeschichte. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

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Authors & Contributors
Bouterse, Jeroen
White, John
Turner, Stephanie S.
Turkle, Sherry
Seigel, Jerrold E.
Phillips, Denis C.
Science in Context
Journal of the History of the Neurosciences
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
History of Psychology
British Journal for the History of Science
Cambridge University Press
Raffaello Cortina Editore
Penguin Press
Yale University Press
Wayne State University Press
University of Chicago Press
Terminology and nomenclature
Controversies and disputes
Philosophy of mind
Emotions; passions
Ackermann, Jacob Fidelis
Walter, Johann Gotlieb
Wundt, Wilhelm Max
Steffens, Henrich
Fischer, Emil Hermann
Windelband, Wilhelm
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
18th century
20th century, early
17th century
United States
Great Britain
Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Interessengemeinschaft Farbenindustrie Aktiengesellschaft

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