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  • 1.
    Svenaeus, Fredrik
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Centre for Studies in Practical Knowledge.
    Edith Stein’s phenomenology of sensual and emotional empathy2018In: Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, ISSN 1568-7759, E-ISSN 1572-8676, Vol. 17, no 4, p. 741-760Article in journal (Refereed)
    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)

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  • 2.
    Svenaeus, Fredrik
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Centre for Studies in Practical Knowledge.
    The phenomenology of empathy: a Steinian emotional account2016In: Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, ISSN 1568-7759, E-ISSN 1572-8676, Vol. 15, no 2, p. 227-245Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper presents a phenomenological account of empathy inspired by the proposal put forward by Edith Stein in her book On the Problem of Empathy, published originally 1917. By way of explicating Stein’s views, the paper aims to present a characterization of empathy that is in some aspects similar to, but yet essentially different from contemporary simulationist theories of empathy. An attempt is made to show that Stein’s proposal articulates the essential ingredients and steps involved in empathy and that her proposal can be made even more comprehensive and elucidating by stressing the emotional aspect of the empathy process. Empathy, according to such a phenomenological proposal, is to be understood as a perceptual-imaginative feeling towards and with the other person’s experiences made possible by affective bodily schemas and being enhanced by a personal concern for her. To experience empathy does not necessarily or only mean to experience the same type of feeling as the target does; it means feeling alongside the feeling of the target in imagining and explicating a rich understanding of the experiences of the very person one is facing.

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