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In the early modern period, the feeling and practice of compassion were recalibrated in a pressure cooker of social, religious and political changes. The rich philosophical heritage of classical ideas about the role of pity in virtuous citizenship and prudent statesmanship and the embodied practices of late-medieval affective meditation on compassion with the suffering of Christ jostled against new contexts of civil war, colonisation and capitalism. Notions of neighbourliness, charity and compassion became elastic as communities changed shape. Much of today’s critical impatience with compassion is predicated on its failure to follow through on its rhetoric, its incapacity to practice as it preaches. Yet early modern compassion was not merely an erudite textual tradition: it was also a set of practices that took on differing importance in different social and religious groups. These practices were impacted by and in turn shaped textual representations of compassion. The chapters in this volume analyse a broad range of sources to access the interplay between texts and practice in the early modern period.
Mind–body dualism is often considered to be incompatible with modern psychiatry for two reasons. First, it is claimed that dualism is falsified by recent advances in neuroscience. Second, dualism is thought to lead to an unhelpful attitude towards patients and their illnesses. I reflect on and challenge both lines of thought and argue that there is no inherent conflict between dualism and psychiatry.
Longitudinal research finds that thriving lives result from the capacity to form and sustain interpersonal relationships. This should not be left to chance or intuition but be treated as a matter of learning. The penetration of technology into every aspect of our lives has arguably put the development of empathy – the basis for good relationships – at risk. Although hyper-connected, people can feel very alone. The use of pornography is rising and gaming addictions and cyberbullying pose risks to young people. Empathy can and should be learned. In a context where our species is ageing, older generations are becoming cut off from families as living patterns change; and are suffering high levels of loneliness for longer periods. Well-designed learning experiences can close the gap between generations with reciprocal benefit. Therefore, the learning goals arising from attending to thriving at this level are: learning to develop loving and respectful relationships in diverse technologised societies; and engaging with and learning from other generations. The implications for educators are that social and emotional learning needs to be brought from the margin to the core
Relationships are central to our daily and long-term thriving. They could therefore be a very central purpose of schools. Some schools are already illustrating what this looks like. Making Caring Common is a movement to prioritise the teaching of kindness in schools. Understanding and practising empathy is more difficult than we might assume. Empathy is patricularly important in sexual relationships, and some schools are taking up the challenge of reinventing sex education for the current age, focusing on ethics and tackling the implications of the widespread availability of pornography. Other schools make empathy a basis for action. Dream a Dream and Design for Change are networks that illustrate how to develop rich curriculum and learning activities starting from a focus on caring and understanding the perspectives of others. Some schools are already showing how formal education can provide a basis for inter-generational relationships, by co-locating with retirement centres or nursing homes.
The Innovation Pyramid segments the innovation's design from its execution. Focusing on the design first forces us to think about what we are creating before immersing ourselves into the details of how we are creating it. The design portion is further segmented into Problem Identification and Solution Formulation. The first level of The Innovation Pyramid, which is the first stage of the innovation's design, describes a procedure for identifying root causes of general situations. Like The Innovation Pyramid itself, this five-step procedure for Problem Identification is non-linear and iterative process of discovery. Steps may be skipped or repeated depending on where we start or how the process of discovery unfolds. The five-step procedure is therefore more of a guideline than a rigorous process. The guideline requires multiple changes in perspective (broadening or narrowing one's purview) and points-of-view (through who's eyes the situation is observed). Empathy is a key component necessary to remaining in the problem space long enough to uncover the situation's root cause. Given problems are associated with people, identifying the root problem also means identifying the group of people most directly impacted by the root problem.
While the naming of Caribbean works as speculative fiction has enabled the possibility of this regionally specific genre to take shape in the twenty-first century, there has been a long tradition of literary works that seek to represent alternative and multiple realities by fragmenting realist forms and employing the rich folkloric and spiritual traditions of the region. Figures such as the soucouyant and mermaid often symbolize gendered realities, the zombie represents psychological trauma, and spirits emphasize the continuation of the past in the present. Drawing on elements of fantasy, these works are thus often deeply informed by socio-political concerns and traumatic events, and arguably transform, rather than bypass, the historic character of Caribbean literature. Through the utopian/dystopian scenarios recognizable within speculative literature, readers are returned to the issues of memory, history and identity, while also pushing at the imaginative limits of community and embodiment in their creation of alternate possibilities.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic led to measures that reduced social contact and support. We explored whether UK residents with more frequent or supportive social contact had fewer depressive symptoms during March−August 2020, and potential factors moderating the relationship.
A convenience sample of UK dwelling participants aged ⩾18 in the internet-based longitudinal COVID-19 Social Study completed up to 22 weekly questionnaires about face-to-face and phone/video social contact frequency, perceived social support, and depressive symptoms using the PHQ-9. Mixed linear models examined associations between social contact and support, and depressive symptoms. We examined for interaction by empathic concern, perspective taking and pre-COVID social contact frequency.
In 71 117 people with mean age 49 years (standard deviation 15), those with high perceived social support scored 1.836 (1.801–1.871) points lower on PHQ-9 than those with low support. Daily face-to-face or phone/video contact was associated with lower depressive symptoms (0.258 (95% confidence interval 0.225–0.290) and 0.117 (0.080–0.154), respectively) compared to no contact. The negative association between social relationships and depressive symptoms was stronger for those with high empathic concern, perspective taking and usual sociability.
We found during lockdown that those with higher quality or more face-to-face or phone/video contact had fewer depressive symptoms. Contact quality was more strongly associated than quantity. People who were usually more sociable or had higher empathy had more depressive symptoms during enforced reduced contact. The results have implications for COVID-19 and potential future pandemic management, and for understanding the relationship between social factors and mental health.
While the etymology of apocalypse is closely associated with that of revelation (both signify unveiling or revealing), the latter term also evokes the complete opposite—a reveiling or recovering. And if we look closely at how apocalypse figures in recent literature and literary theory that concerns itself with our imagination of cataclysm—particularly ecological and financial—we find an apocalypticism that understands both crisis and our path to averting it as a matter of embracing ignorance and unknowability over knowledge or knowability. In a host of recent works of poetry that have sought to imagine a horizon of political and environmental change, the horizon is frequently all we are permitted to imagine because what lies at or beyond it is supposedly inaccessible to human understanding. This tendency, which is consonant with some recent developments flying under the broad banner of the New Materialism, deserves a new name: the agnotological turn. This chapter focuses on two recent works of American poetry that push in important ways against that turn: Rebecca Gayle Howell’s Render / An Apocalypse (2013) and Jane Gregory’s Yeah No (2018)
This chapter outlines the contribution of philosophers from the classical phenomenological movement to social theory. It distinguishes two dimensions of sociality that have been explored in depth by phenomenologists, namely intersubjective and collective forms of being-together. With regard to the former, the chapter discusses, in particular, phenomenological conceptions of empathy, socio-communicative acts, social typification, and the lifeworld. With regard to the latter, it focuses on different types of social formations, collective intentionality, and the issue of emotion sharing.
Thomas Szanto is Associate Professor in Philosophy at the Center of Subjectivity Research, Department of Communication at the University of Copenhagen. He has published widely in phenomenology, philosophy of mind, social ontology, and the philosophy of emotions.
In this chapter, I demonstrate the problem to which the rest of this book proposes a solution: namely, the need for more careful deontic reasoning. I will focus on certain distinctive habits of reasoning that have often recurred in ICL, which have a tendency to undermine compliance with deontic principles.
All legal systems sometimes generate doctrines that appear to conflict with stated principles. However, in national systems, the clash tends to be openly between liberal principles and ‘law and order’ considerations. I argue that ICL discourse often features an additional and interesting dynamic. In ICL, the distortions often result from habits of reasoning that are progressive and appropriate in human rights law and humanitarian law, but which become problematic when transplanted without adequate reflection to a criminal law system. I highlight three kinds of such reasoning: interpretive assumptions, substantive and structural assumptions, and ideological assumptions. These habits of reasoning were more prevalent in the early days of the renaissance of ICL than they are today. It is still valuable to discern and dissect these habits of reasoning, because their legacy continues, because they still recur today, and because they help show the value of attending to reasoning.
This chapter considers the forms and functions of feminist writings from life in the twenty-first century, illuminating a perceived shift in the conception of the personal-as-political. Part one addresses recent feminist memoirs which seek to memorialise a period and a collective experience, thereby doing history as autobiography (Andrea Dworkin’s Heartbreak (2002) and Lynne Segal’s Making Trouble: Life and Politics (2007)); it asks how and to what ends past feminisms are narrated and remembered in the present. Part two turns to the emergence of generically inventive and autofictional forms of life writing by women in recent years. Mixing essay, fiction, theory, and autobiography, texts such as Kate Zambreno’s Heroines (2012) and Chris Kraus’s Aliens and Anorexia (2000) displace the writing ‘I’ via the incorporation and assimilation of various other life stories. I assess the possibilities and limitations of this embrace of empathetic intersubjectivity as an ethical strategy of recent feminist life writing, considering how this reframes in perhaps problematically privatised ways earlier notions of solidarity and collectivity.
This chapter examines major views of caring, compassion, and related emotional virtues, fleshing out divergences and convergences across traditions and disciplines, and exploring different understandings of their significance for education. In this chapter, views on these topics are organised in relation to their orientation toward the ‘empathy-altruism’ thesis. The empathy-altruism thesis generally contends that empathy, sympathy, compassion and the like can lead to emotional experiences of fellow feeling and positive relationality toward others, altruistic motivation, and benevolent deeds. It then follows that education should strive to cultivate these other-oriented feelings. Many philosophers, psychologists, and educators support this perspective. However, it faces challenges, also from across fields, among those who focus on the thesis’s limitations and possibly problematic educational implications. When it comes to caring, compassion, and altruism, this chapter shows that while there appears to be a consensus view on the merits of these feelings and related dispositions and actions in education and society, the blanket promotion of these emotional virtues is not altogether unproblematic. In this case, a more critical perspective on the empathy-altruism thesis is defended, as the over-optimistic view of these feelings and dispositions can fail to recognise the risks and challenges that accompany them.
Resentment has a bad, but undeserved rap, in both political theory and popular culture today. But this book has shown that liberal political theorists were not always so dismissed of resentment as a moral motive because of its psychological features, most importantly, its basis in equal recognition. But I have also demonstrated the limitations of sympathetic resentment throughout the book. In this conclusion, I consider how commercial institutions like competition and free exchange might ameliorate our prospects for spectatorial resentment, as well as what the empirical research on resentment, empathy, and perspective-taking might teach us about how to improve sympathetic resentment. Finally, I reflect on what persistent injustice in liberal societies might suggest about the value of the theory of sympathetic resentment I have offered in this book.
The next step after getting a feel for what “personal goals” are and how they work is to understand the other two components of motivational patterns (emotions and personal agency beliefs) and how goals, emotions, and personal agency beliefs operate as a “leadership team” in motivational headquarters. Learning how these components of human motivational patterns (always) work together to direct, organize, and regulate thought and action provides the conceptual foundation for constructing a theory of motivation and optimal functioning that can inform efforts to help people be more successful and experience enhanced levels of well-being and life meaning. This chapter also introduces the concept of equipoise – a system-wide requirement for optimal functioning – while also explaining how MST concepts can be applied to motivation at the level of human collectives (Group Motivational Systems Theory).
Teach the world to sing, and all will be in perfect harmony - or so the songs tell us. Music is widely believed to unify and bring peace, but the focus on music as a vehicle for fostering empathy and reconciliation between opposing groups threatens to overly simplify our narratives of how interpersonal conflict might be transformed. This Element offers a critique of empathy's ethical imperative of radical openness and positions the acknowledgement of moral responsibility as a fundamental component of music's capacity to transform conflict. Through case studies of music and conflict transformation in Australia and Canada, Music Transforming Conflict assesses the complementary roles of musically mediated empathy and guilt in post-conflict societies and argues that a consideration of musical and moral implication as part of studies on music and conflict offers a powerful tool for understanding music's potential to contribute to societal change.
The second step to unblocking our advance as negotiators is to gain the relevant know-how. Here we explore specific and practical techniques recommended by researchers as effective, such as deliberate practice and memorizing techniques.
This chapter examines a third pro-migration activist intervention, which involves the dressing of unmarked graves at cemeteries in which the bodies of those who died en route are buried. It situates the intervention in relation to existing instruments of containment charted in Part I and shows how grave dressing challenges biopolitical, thanatopolitical and zoopolitical dynamics of governing migration through death and vulnerability by accounting for the lives of those who have died at sea. The chapter draws on research carried out in Lampedusa and considers how cemetery activism invokes dignity in death through the naming of the deceased and the marking of graves as sites of loss and mourning. In so doing, it shows how such interventions go beyond an action for the dead alone, albeit in terms that bring to bear tensions between and within a politics of pity and a politics of empathy. By exploring different strands of cemetery activism, the chapter highlights the critical importance of those interventions that involve a refusal of racialised processes of dehumanisation and that extend practices of mourning beyond commemoration in terms that render visible the normalisation of death and vulnerability. It shows how such interventions enact dignity in death through a politics of responsibility that directly challenges authorities for a failure to account for the lives of those lost or disappeared. Grave dressing in this regard not only draws attention to the problems of a politics orientated towards the security of home, but also recreates home in more hopeful terms, through the enactment of a politics of collective responsibility for deaths at sea in solidarity with both the living and the dead.
An introductory exploration on the nature of emotions, and examination of some of the critical issues surrounding the emotional life of God as they relate to happiness, empathy, love, and moral judgments. Covering the different criteria used in the debate between impassibility and passibility, readers can begin to think about which emotions can be predicated of God and which cannot.
This chapter argues that the success of Trump’s candidacy in the 2016 Republican primary was due in part to its value as barbed comedic entertainment, generated through gesture. The chapter builds on semiotician Mikhael Bakhtin’s notion of the “grotesque body” to examine the ways that Trump’s unconventional communicative style, particularly his use of gesture to critique the political system and caricature his opponents, brought momentum to his campaign by creating spectacle. By reducing a target perceived as an opponent to an essentialized action of the body, Trump’s bodily parodies deliver the message that he rejects progressive social expectations regarding how minority groups should be represented. Five highly mediatized caricatures are analyzed in detail: the Wrist-Flailing Reporter, the Food-Shoveling Governor, the Choking Ex-Politician, the Border-Crossing Mexican, and the Swooning Democratic Nominee. In each of these gestural enactments, Trump displays his antagonism to political correctness by embodying discourses of disability, class, race, immigration, and gender, thus encouraging a new sociopolitical order that discourages empathy toward the vulnerable.
This paper explores the “crybaby/snowflake” name calling leveled by Trump’s supporters against his detractors, a discourse that exploded in the immediate wake of the 2016 election. It explores interdiscursive (or intertextual) relationships and functional similarities between the crybaby discourse and the language historically used by Drill Instructors during basic training in the United States Marine Corps. In both cases, someone in the role of “ritual elder” uses language as a punitive and didactic cudgel to weed out the weak (whether literally, from the military, or more symbolically, from cultural citizenship/the nation) while signifying that the interlocutor needs to “grow up” or “man up” by attenuating their sensitivity to both suffering and linguistic meaning. The ideal citizen then has a calloused quality, in the model of military masculinity, ready to face harsh realities and to turn a blind eye to the suffering of others. The crybaby discourse is intended to discredit political opposition and discourage empathy as part of Trump’s new nationalism. Its interdiscursive passage between military personnel and American conservatives can be seen in memes and mass media. The crybaby discourse has also been taken up by many of Trump’s detractors and leveled at Trump himself to infantilize and discredit him.