Dan Zahavi: Empathy, Embodiment and Interpersonal Understanding: From Lipps to Schutz

The new issue of Inquiry includes an article by Dan Zahavi that we thought might interest some of you. It’s entitled “Empathy, Embodiment and Interpersonal Understanding: From Lipps to Schutz.” To access the article online, please click here.

Here is its abstract:

When it comes to understanding the nature of social cognition, we have—according to the standard view—a choice between the simulation theory, the theory-theory or some hybrid between the two. The aim of this paper is to argue that there are, in fact, other options available, and that one such option has been articulated by various thinkers belonging to the phenomenological tradition. More specifically, the paper will contrast Lipps’ account of empathy—an account that has recently undergone something of a revival in the hands of contemporary simulationists—with various accounts of empathy found in the phenomenological tradition. I discuss the way Lipps was criticized by Scheler, Stein and Husserl, and outline some of the core features of their, at times divergent, alternatives. I then proceed by considering how their basic take on empathy and social cognition was taken up and modified by Schutz—a thinker whose contribution to the analysis of interpersonal understanding has been unjustly neglected in recent years.

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