Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Empathy Expanded

  • Lee W. Bailey
Living reference work entry

Latest version View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_200019-3

A mother was watching her 2-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son play around in a pool of water. The little girl splashed her brother a bit too much, and he pulled back, wiping his eyes. She leaned in and said “Oh, I’m sorry. I love you.”

This girl demonstrated empathy, in the standard sense of intuitively understanding what her brother was feeling – a bit overwhelmed by the splashing. Her empathy included sympathy and bonding, apologizing, and assuring him of her loving family unity. This innocent child’s caring empathy is natural, but sadly lacking in the world today. This lack is part of our painful problems of human alienation. These problems are very serious, and we need to expand our understanding of empathy into more conscious awareness, its definitions, dynamics, and scope.

Empathy’s definitions incorporate a wide field with two commonly thought extremes: (1) One side is cognitive or thinking about it (to “put myself in another person’s shoes” or“see from another’s...


Emotional Intelligence Ethical Action World Trade Center Sacred Tree Empathy Deficit 
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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee W. Bailey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Religion, Ithaca CollegeIthacaUSA