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Empathy and Vicarious Experience. Congruence or Identical Emotion?

Escuela de Filosofía, Facultad de Filosofía y Humanidades, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Pabellón Francia, Ciudad Universitaria, Córdoba, C.P. 5000, Argentina
Philosophies 2018, 3(2), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3020006
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophy of Cognitive Science: Selected Papers from WPCS 2017)
Feeling empathy is something that happens, an experience we can remember once we have had it, or an experience we would like to have. I consider empathy, from an integral point of view (i.e., cognitive and emotive aspects are part of empathy), as the capacity of putting oneself in the place of others. Although, by this time, my general characterization of empathy will not be discussed, I will focus on one question about empathy for which there is still no agreement: whether the emotion of the person experiencing empathy must be identical or not to the emotion felt by the person being empathized with. The aim of this work is, firstly, to reduce the four possibilities about the relationship between the empathizer’s emotion and the emotion felt by the person who is the target of empathy to two exhaustive and exclusive views: (1) the idea of identity of emotions between the empathizer and the target and (2) the point of view of the congruence of emotions between the empathizer and the target, both being cases of personal emotional experiences. Secondly, I suggest that these possibilities may make up an exclusive disjunctive argument, showing that problems with the first part of the argument or the premise would lead us to accept the second part: to feel empathy we do not need to feel exactly the same emotion that the object of empathy feels. View Full-Text
Keywords: empathy; emotion; cognition; emotional contagion; personal; subpersonal; perspective taking empathy; emotion; cognition; emotional contagion; personal; subpersonal; perspective taking
MDPI and ACS Style

Brunsteins, P.C. Empathy and Vicarious Experience. Congruence or Identical Emotion? Philosophies 2018, 3, 6.

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