Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 283–293 | Cite as

Overcoming the Problems of ‘Difference’ in Education: Empathy as ‘Intercorporeality’

  • Marjorie O'Loughlin


In this paper I am concerned with the notion of empathy and its capacity for overcoming the problem of difference in social life. The concept of empathy has a long history in the Western philosophic tradition but has become discursively submerged in recent times. I am particularly interested in what philosophies of the body may contribute to our understanding of empathy. Psychoanalytic feminism provides some insights. However I identify Merleau-Ponty's conception of body-subject and the intersubjective encounter as offering a potentially more fruitful account of empathy.

empathy intercultural communication perspective intercorporeality 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Benjamin J, (1988) The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism and the Problem of Domination, New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar
  2. Best D, (1985) Feeling and Reason in the Arts, London: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  3. Butler J, (1990) Gender Trouble, New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Crossley N, (1995) ‘Merleau-Ponty, the Elusive Body and Carnal Sociology’ in Body and Society, Vol 1,No. 1, March 1995.Google Scholar
  5. Chodorow N, (1978) The Reproduction of Mothering, Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  6. Dewey J, (1938) Experience and Education Lafayett, Indiana: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  7. Eagleton T, (1990) The Ideology of the Aesthetic, Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  8. Featherstone M, Hepworth M and Turner B, (1991) The Body. Social Process and Cultural Theory, London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  9. Foucault M, (1977) Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison Trans. Alan Sheridan, London: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  10. Gadamer H G, (1979) Truth and Method, Trans. W Glen-Dopel, J Cumming and G Barden, London: Sheed and Ward.Google Scholar
  11. Grosz E, (1994) Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism, Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Harre R, (1983) Personal Being: A Theory for Individual Psychology, Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  13. Irigaray L, (1985b) This Sex Which is Not One, Trans. C Porter, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Kant I, (1790) The Critique of Pure Reason, Trans. J C Meredith, Oxford, Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  15. Kristeva J, (1980) Desire in Language, New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Langer S, (1953) Feeling and Form, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  17. Lyotard J F, (1979) The Postmodern Condition, Trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  18. Meyers D, (1994) Subjection and Subjectivity. Psychoanalytic Feminism and Moral Philosophy, New York, Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Merleau-Ponty M, (1962) The Phenomenology of Perception. Trans. Colin Smith, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  20. Merleau-Ponty M, (1968) The Visible and the Invisible, Trans. Alphonso Lingis, Evanston: North-western University Press.Google Scholar
  21. O'Loughlin, M (1994) ‘Being and Knowing: Explorations in Ontologies’ Proceedings of the Biennial Conference of the International Network of Philosophers of Education, Leuven, Belgium.Google Scholar
  22. Rawls J, (1971) A Theory of Justice, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Sartre J-P, (1956) Being and Nothingness, Trans. Hazel Barnes, New York: Philosophical Library.Google Scholar
  24. Touraine A, (1995) Critique of Modernity, Trans. David Macey, Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marjorie O'Loughlin
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Social and Political StudiesUniversity of SydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations