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Edith Stein’s phenomenology of sensual and emotional empathy
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Centre for Studies in Practical Knowledge.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8973-8591
2017 (English)In: Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, ISSN 1568-7759, E-ISSN 1572-8676, p. 1-20Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This paper presents and explicates the theory of empathy found in Edith Stein’s early philosophy, notably in the book On the Problem of Empathy, published in 1917, but also by proceeding from complementary thoughts on bodily intentionality and intersubjectivity found in Philosophy of Psychology and the Humanities published in 1922. In these works Stein puts forward an innovative and detailed theory of empathy, which is developed in the framework of a philosophical anthropology involving questions of psychophysical causality, social ontology and moral philosophy. Empathy, according to Stein, is a feeling-based experience of another person’s feeling that develops throughout three successive steps on two interrelated levels. The key to understanding the empathy process á la Stein is to explicate how the steps of empathy are attuned in nature, since the affective qualities provide the energy and logic by way of which the empathy process is not only inaugurated but also proceeds through the three steps and carries meaning on two different levels corresponding to two different types of empathy: sensual and emotional empathy. Stein’s theory has great potential for better understanding and moving beyond some major disagreements found in the contemporary empathy debate regarding, for instance, the relation between perception and simulation, the distinction between what is called low-level and high-level empathy, and the issue of how and in what sense it may be possible to share feelings in the empathy process. © 2017 The Author(s)

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. p. 1-20
Keyword [en]
Edith Stein, Empathy, Lived body, Phenomenology, Philosophy of emotion, Sympathy
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-33740DOI: 10.1007/s11097-017-9544-9Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85033379823OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-33740DiVA, id: diva2:1160186
Available from: 2017-11-24 Created: 2017-11-24 Last updated: 2018-04-05Bibliographically approved

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Svenaeus, Fredrik

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