Advertisement

Topoi

pp 1–9 | Cite as

Empathy as the Opposite of Egocentrism: Why the Simulation Theory and the Direct Perception Theory of Empathy Fail

  • Robert BlanchetEmail author
Article
  • 8 Downloads

Abstract

This paper presents a new, third-personal account of empathy that characterizes empathy as being sensitive to others’ concerns as opposed to remaining stuck in one’s egocentric perspective on the world. The paper also demonstrates why this account is preferable to its two main rivals, namely the simulation theory of empathy, and the direct perception theory of empathy.

Keywords

Empathy Theory of mind Social cognition Moral psychology Zahavi Gallagher Goldman 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the author.

References

  1. Baron-Cohen S (1995) Mindblindness: an essay on autism and theory of mind. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  2. Blanchet R, Vaage MB (2012) Don, Peggy, and other fictional friends? engaging with characters in television series. Projections 6(2):18–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carroll N (2011) On some affective relations between audiences and characters in popular fictions. In: Coplan A, Goldie P (eds) Empathy: philosophical and psychological perspectives. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  4. Coplan A (2004) Empathic engagement with narrative fictions. J Aesthet Art Critic 62(2):141–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Crisp R (2017) Well-being. In: Zalta EN (ed) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2017 Edition), https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2017/entries/well-being/
  6. D’Aloia A (2012) Cinematic empathy: spectator involvement in the film experience. In: Reynolds D, Reason M (eds) Kinesthetic empathy in creative and cultural practices. Intelect, BristolGoogle Scholar
  7. De Vignemont F, Jacob P (2012) What is it like to feel another’s pain? Philos Sci 79(2):295–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. De Vignemont F, Jacob P (2016) Beyond empathy for pain. Philos Sci 83(3):434–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Eder J (2008) Die Figur im Film: Grundlagen der Figurenanalyse. Schüren, MarburgGoogle Scholar
  10. Fodor JA (1987) Psychosemantics. MIT Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Frijda NH (1986) The emotions. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  12. Gallagher S (2001) The practice of mind: theory, simulation, or interaction? J Conscious Stud 8(5–7):83–107Google Scholar
  13. Gallagher S (2007) Simulation trouble. Soc neurosci-uk 2(3–4):353–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gallagher S (2012a) Empathy, simulation, and narrative. Sci Context 25(3):355–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gallagher S (2012b) In defense of phenomenological approaches to social cognition: interacting with the critics. Rev Philos Psychol 3:187–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gallagher S (2015) The new hybrids: continuing debates on social perception. Conscious Cogn 36:452–465CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gallagher S (2017) Empathy and theories of direct perception. In: Maibom H (ed) The Routledge handbook of philosophy of empathy. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  18. Gallagher S, Gallagher J (2019) Acting oneself as another: an actor’s empathy for her character. Topoi 36:452–465.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11245-018-9624-7 Google Scholar
  19. Gallagher S, Hutto D (2008) Understanding others through primary interaction and narrative practice. In: Zlatev J, Racine TP, Sinha C, Itkonen E (eds) The shared mind: perspectives on intersubjectivity. John Benjamins, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  20. Gaut B (2010) Empathy and identification in cinema. Midwest Stud Philos 34(1):136–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Giovannelli A (2008) In and out: the dynamics of imagination in the engagement with narratives. J Aesthet Art Critic 66(1):11–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Giovannelli A (2009) In sympathy with narrative characters. J Aesthet Art Critic 67(1):83–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Goldman AI (2006) Simulating minds: the philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience of mindreading. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gopnik A, Meltzoff A (1997) Words, thoughts, and theories. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  25. Griffin J (1986) Well-being: its meaning, measurement, and moral importance. Clarendon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  26. Grodal T (1997) Moving pictures: a new theory of film genres, feelings, and cognition. Clarendon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  27. Hoffman ML (2000) Empathy and moral development: implications for caring and justice. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hu L, Iannetti GD (2016) Painful issues in pain prediction. Trends Neurosci 39(4):212–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Husserl E (2016) Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und phänomenologischen Philosophie. Zweites Buch: Phänomenologische Untersuchungen zur Konstitution und Wissenschaftstheorie. Fonfara D (Hrsg) Springer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  30. Hutto D (2008) Folk-psychological narratives. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  31. Iannetti GD, Salomons TV, Moayedi M, Mouraux A, Davis KD (2013) Beyond metaphor: contrasting mechanisms of social and physical pain. Trends Cogn Sn 17(8):371–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jacob P (2011) The direct perception model of empathy: a critique. Rev Philos Psychol 2:519–540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Jardine J, Szanto T (2017) Empathy in the phenomenological tradition. In: Maibom H (ed) The Routledge handbook of philosophy of empathy. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  34. Krishnan A, Woo CW, Chang LJ, Ruzic L, Gu X, López-Solà M, Jackson PL, Pujol J, Fan J, Wager TD (2016) Somatic and vicarious pain are represented by dissociable multivariate brain patterns. eLife 5:1–42Google Scholar
  35. Lavelle JS (2012) Theory-theory and the direct perception of mental states. Rev Philos Psychol 3:213–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lazarus RS (1991) Emotion and adaptation. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  37. Newen A (2015) Understanding others: the person model theory. In: Metzinger M, Windt JM (eds) Open MIND, MIND Group, Frankfurt am MainGoogle Scholar
  38. Newen A, Welpinghus A, Juckel G (2015) Emotion recognition as pattern recognition: the relevance of perception. Mind Lang 30:187–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ortony A, Clore GL, Collins A (1988) The cognitive structure of emotions. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Plantinga C (2009) Moving viewers: American film and the spectator’s experience. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  41. Railton P (1986) Facts and values. Philos Topics 14(2):5–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Scheler M (2008) Wesen und Formen der Sympathie. In: Frings M (Hrsg) Gesammelte Werke, Band 7. Bouvier, BonnGoogle Scholar
  43. Schmetkamp S (2017a) Perspektive und empathische Resonanz: Vergegenwärtigung anderer Sichtweisen. In: Hagener M, Vendrell Ferran I (Hrsg) Empathie im Film: Perspektiven der Ästhetischen Theorie, Phänomenologie und Analytischen Philosophie. Transkript, BielefeldGoogle Scholar
  44. Schmetkamp S (2017b) Gaining perspectives on our lives: moods and aesthetic experience. Philosophia 45(4):1681–1695CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Smith M (1995) Engaging characters: fiction, emotion, and the cinema. Clarendon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  46. Spaulding S (2010) Embodied cognition and mindreading. Mind Lang 25(1):119–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Spaulding S (2015) On direct social perception. Conscious Cogn 36:472–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Spaulding S (2017) On whether we can see intentions. Pac Philos Quart 98(2):150–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Spaulding S (2018) How we understand others: philosophy and social cognition. Routledge, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Stein E (2008) Zum Problem der Einfühlung. In: Edith Stein Gesamtausgabe, Band 5. Herder, FreiburgGoogle Scholar
  51. Stueber KR (2006) Rediscovering empathy: agency, folk psychology, and the human sciences. The MIT Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sumner LW (1996) Welfare, happiness, and ethics. Clarendon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  53. Tan ES (1996) Emotion and the structure of narrative film: film as emotion machine. Lawrence Erlbaum, Mahwah (New Jersey)Google Scholar
  54. Vaage MB (2006) The empathetic film spectator in analytic philosophy and naturalized phenomenology. Film Philosophy 10:21–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Vaage MB (2010) Fiction film and the varieties of empathic engagement. Midwest Stud Philos 34(1):158–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wollheim R (1999) The thread of life. Yale University Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  57. Zahavi D (2014) Self and other: exploring subjectivity, empathy, and shame. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Zahavi D (2017) Phenomenology, empathy, and mindreading. In: Maibom H (ed) The Routledge handbook of philosophy of empathy. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  59. Zahavi D, Overgaard S (2011) Empathy without isomorphism: a phenomenological account. In: Decety J (ed) Empathy: from bench to bedside. The MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  60. Zaki J, Wager TD, Singer T, Keysers C, Gazzola V (2016) The anatomy of suffering: understanding the relationship between nociceptive and empathic pain. Trends Cogn Sn 20(4):249–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Film StudiesUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations