Empathy as intersubjectivity: Resolving Hume and Smith's divide

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Abstract

Although empathy is arguably an important factor to consider in moral education, the concept itself has consistently stood on tenuous ground. In this essay, I claim that our adherence to ontological dualism and discrete subjectivity have problematized our comprehension of empathy. I propose that our understanding is limited by our understanding of selfhood. If the self were defined as intersubjective, along the lines of Merleau-Ponty, then empathy's ambiguities would dissipate. After reconceptualizing empathy in light of intersubjectivity, I call for pedagogical relations that are aligned with developmental research, which provides further support for adhering to an alternative conception of the phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-178
Number of pages14
JournalStudies in Philosophy and Education
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2007

Keywords

  • Dialogue
  • Empathy
  • Intersubjectivity

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