The Nature of Sympathy
In the psychology of motivation the instrumental response is theoretically related in some way to the general wellbeing of the person whose motivation it is. But the motivational structure of sympathy is different. The orientation of sympathetic behavior is not the welfare of the person who is sympathetically motivated, but that of the person who is the object of that sympathy. This distinction is not about “satisfaction” or “happiness,” although both may sometimes be involved. It is about the dependent variable for which sympathy is the motivation. Take, for example, the intake of food. Taking food may be equally “satisfying” to the person whose motivation is hunger and to the person whose motivation is sympathy, except that in the first case the food is eaten by the hungry person, and in the second case the food is eaten by the person who is the object of sympathy. The logic of this distinction was set forth many years ago by Bishop Butler (see Broad, 1979), and I will consider it further in Chapter 4.
KeywordsMotivational Structure Phenomenological Description Obvious Distinction Psychical Phenomenon Reflective Orientation
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