, Volume 9, Issue 1–2, pp 253–264 | Cite as

Stimmung and Einfühlung: Hydraulic model and analogic model in the theories of empathy

  • Andrea Pinotti

6. Conclusions

This synthetic survey of the models on which theEinflihlungstheorie is based has showed the deficiency of a pattern and the oscillation of a distinction.

The hydraulic model, which following a radical subjectivism is specified as a projection or transfer of pathemic contents from the subject into the object, experiences a crisis if confronted with the rights of the object, which claims to be empathized in this way or in that way. Such a claim induces to recognize a character proper to the object, which does not accept to be reduced to a mere neutral container ready to receive the subjective pathemic contents.

Consequently, the distinction between empathy towards the human and empathy towards the sub-human — which appeared to be a major difference —vanishes, since the relation with the object (natural or artistic) is specified in terms of intersubjectivity andalter-ego.

The subjectivistic hydraulic pattern is not just substituted by an opposite, objectivistic pattern, which would create the same difficulties, only upset; but rather by ananalogic model, in which sense is established in the correlation between subject and object, and on the aesthetic ground of the qualitative affinities, which determine a horizon of style.

It is an analogic model which characterizes, in Husserl, the constitution of the transcendental intersubjectivity: empathy becomes the condition of possibility of the comprehension of other subjects in their typic or stylistic structure.

InAesthetik und allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft Max Dessoir severely criticizes the theorists of empathy because they hyposthatize organic metaphors creating a “schablonenhafte Versprachlichung.”44 Empathy is certainly metaphor, yet not in the sense of a figurative expression, but as a realmetapherein ortransfert: as translation of sense — not from a full to an empty vessel, but rather in the circular form of the analogic circuit.


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Copyright information

© Centro Studi per la Filosofia Mitteleuropea 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Pinotti
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyMilanItaly

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