Article ID: CBB001251567

The Strength of Weak Empathy (2012)


Turner, Stephanie S. (Author)

Science in Context
Volume: 25, no. 3
Issue: 3
Pages: 383-399

Publication Date: 2012
Edition Details: Part of the special issue, “The Varieties of Empathy in Science, Art, and History”
Language: English

This paper builds on a neglected philosophical idea, Evidenz. Max Weber used it in his discussion of Verstehen, as the goal of understanding either action or such things as logic. It was formulated differently by Franz Brentano, but with a novel twist: that anyone who understood something would see the thing to be understood as self-evident, not something dependent on inference, argument, or reasoning. The only way one could take something as evident in this sense is by being able to treat other people as having the same responses -- by empathy with them, in the weak sense of following their thought. Brentano's philosophical claim is that without some stopping point at what is self-evident, justifications fall into infinite regress. This is radically opposed to much of conventional philosophy. The usual solutions to the regress problem rely on problematic claims about the supposed hidden transcendental structure behind reasoning. In contrast, empathy is a genuine natural phenomenon and a better explanation for the actual phenomenon of making sense of the reasoning of others. What is evident to all who are capable of understanding is an empirically-defined subset of this class.

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Article Lanzoni, Susan (2012) Introduction: Emotion and the Sciences: Varieties of Empathy in Science, Art, and History. Science in Context (pp. 287-300). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Gori, Pietro
Fréchette, Guillaume
Young, Allan
Seigel, Jerrold E.
Schmiedebach, Heinz-Peter
Sava, Gabriella
Science in Context
Revue de Synthèse
History of Psychology
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Physis: Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza
NTM: Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Technik und Medizin
Yale University Press
Verlag J. H. Röll
Edizioni ETS
Cambridge University Press
Philosophy of mind
Emotions; passions
Social psychology
Brentano, Franz Clemens
Bühler, Karl
Vailati, Giovanni
Suttie, Ian Dishart
Münsterberg, Hugo
Mead, George Herbert
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
18th century
21st century
20th century, late
Great Britain
United States

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