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This chapter illustrates the power of the animal story to challenge anthropocentric positions and ideas of human exceptionalism. It centres upon the famous story of Androclus and the lion (as told by Gellius and other ancient and modern authors) to show that anthropomorphizing is not merely a tool of human appropriation of the animal; it can also bring out real sympathies and correspondences between human and non-human creatures. With its particular focus on the capacity to experience pain as a shared feature of humans and animals, the story driving this chapter anticipates modern attempts to bring questions of sentience and suffering into the picture and to reimagine justice as extending beyond the human.
Empathy provides a cognitive and emotional bridge that connects individuals and promotes prosocial behavior. People empathize with others via two complementary perceptual routes: Cognitive Empathy or the ability to accurately recognize and understand others' emotional states, and Affective Empathy or the ability to 'feel with' others. This Element reviews past and current research on both cognitive and affective empathy, focusing on behavioral, as well as neuroscientific research. It highlights a recent shift towards more dynamic and complex stimuli which may capture better the nature of real social interaction. It expands on why context is crucial when perceiving others' emotional state, and discusses gender differences, biases affecting our understanding of others, and perception of others in clinical conditions. Lastly, it highlights proposed future directions in the field.
In the future, administrative agencies will rely increasingly on digital automation powered by AI. Can U.S. administrative law accommodate such a future? Not only might an automated state readily meet longstanding administrative law principles, but the responsible use of AI might perform even better than the status quo in terms of fulfilling administrative law’s core values of expert decision-making and democratic accountability. AI governance clearly promises more accurate, data-driven decisions. Moreover, due to their mathematical properties, AI and ADM tools might well prove to be more faithful agents of democratic institutions. Yet even if an automated state was smarter and more accountable, it might risk being less empathic. Although the degree of empathy in existing human-driven bureaucracies should not be overstated, a large-scale shift to the use of AI tools by government will pose a new challenge for administrative law: ensuring that an automated state is also an empathic one.
Although our ultimate goal is an analysis and theory of perspective taking in literature, an important insight is that perspective taking in reading literature is subject to the same factors and constraints and may depend on the same types of processes as perspective taking in real life. In Chapter 3, we review research in social and personality psychology that is applicable to literary perspective taking and that can help us advance our understanding of how readers make sense of fictional minds. Under the general umbrella term of “mind reading,” theory of mind, theory theory, and simulation theories offer competing explanations of how individuals make sense of other minds. We argue that interpreting these ideas in terms of analogy provides the basis for a more coherent analysis. We also consider the problem of empathy and how it is related to mind reading. Our analysis is that empathy should be thought of as emotional perspective taking, and we apply our analogical inference approach here as well. Finally, we consider the neural bases of perspective taking and discuss how different brain networks may be related to the components of perspective taking by analogy.
In Chapter 2, we provide a critical review of how the terms “perspective” and “perspective taking” have been understood in both literary studies and social, personality, and cognitive psychology. We explain how current definitions of the term “perspective” and the process of “perspective taking” are too broad in what they implicitly encompass and we identify the components that should be excluded in the interest of clarity and precision. In this chapter, we also provide a conceptual and theoretical analysis of what perspective taking involves. In particular, we argue that a perspective is an interpretation of evaluations and that perspective taking depends on the construction of an analogy between the evaluations of the character and those of the reader. This analysis provides the background for our critiques of perspective taking in life and in literature in subsequent chapters.
The Coda returns to the example with which the book begins: the story about the gentleman caller and the naked lady in the bathroom told by the character Fabienne in Truffaut’s film Stolen Kisses (1968). The aim of the Coda is to revisit key aspects of the theory and history of tact developed in the course of the book, and to draw its findings to a close.
Existing theories of human interaction tend to focus on tact as a marker of social distinction (Sartre, Bourdieu), and a tool for the cementation of bourgeois power (Foucault). The introduction sets the arena for a new account of tact that not only considers tact’s discriminating effects but also, and primarily, gives room to its equalizing dynamic and democratic potential. Using a story from Truffaut’s film Stolen Kisses (1968) about a gentleman and a naked lady in a bathroom as an example to unpack some of the key aspects of tact, I engage in critical dialogue with a wide range of scholars from different disciplines (including Wollheim, Kohut, Coplan, Luhmann, Derrida, Goffman, Žižek, Sartre, and Sennett). The aim is to address the following questions: What is tact? What is the relation between empathy, widely associated with proximity, and tact as a generator of distance? How can we distinguish tact from politeness and what are the implications of this distinction? How does social tact, as the spontaneous and individual art of mitigating social encounter, relate to hermeneutical tact as a particular mode of reading faces, images, texts?
Chapter 9 discusses the implications of the fair process effect for how to deal with various issues of discontent in society and how we can open up ourselves to start overcoming these issues, at least to a certain extent. Based on what is learned in this book, the chapter notes that it could help when we learn to think differently and try to stay away from abstractions that may, in effect, make us more discontent about what is happening in society than is sometimes warranted or desirable. We also may need to train ourselves to accept that sometimes unfair things happen to us. This may lead us to accept the unpleasant feelings that come with these experiences. This also increases the chances of us being able to tolerate or even embrace dissenting opinions, which may turn out to provide the main impetus to real change. Increasing the level of genuine empathy for other people’s feelings is also among the core aspects that we may attempt to learn. Sometimes trying different behaviors than we are used to, and then observing the effects of these different behaviors, is among the more important lessons that we humans can learn and adapt ourselves to accordingly.
The emotions of frontline responders are traditionally viewed as problematic, because emotions are seen as distractive and impediments to an efficient pursuit of optimal crisis response outcomes. In addition, personal involvement in the situation might result in trauma since responders are often unable to prevent tragedy and suffering. Dissociation from the response, instead, might best enable responders to cope with traumatic experiences and avoid negative psychological consequences. Yet, compassion and altruism give meaning to their work for many responders and can improve their customized care to those in need. Detachment, moreover, is rarely fully effective. The emotional attitude of crisis responders, therefore, poses a dilemma. It is useful to note that emotions are diverse in nature and intensity. This means that there is room to explore how to manage emotions in such a way that feelings of empathy and involvement are enabled without responders succumbing to it. In any case, it requires unwavering organizational and team support.
This essay discusses W.G. Sebald’s use of biographical and autobiographical elements in his literary writing. A diachronic overview retraces Sebald’s evolving use of (auto-)biographical elements from After Nature, Vertigo and The Emigrants to The Rings of Saturn and finally Austerlitz. To do so, this essay outlines, firstly, which protagonists are based on real historical figures and which source-material Sebald used for their literary transposition. Secondly, this essay highlights the relationship between the biographies of persons of historical renown – such as writers like Franz Kafka, Vladimir Nabokov and Stendhal – and those biographies taken from Sebald’s private life. These Sebald modelled after the lives of friends and acquaintances. Their inclusion with changed names – such as Paul Bereyter, Max Ferber or Jacques Austerlitz, raise questions concerning the relationship between truth and fiction. A third, central concern is the discussion of Sebald’s literary techniques and the various ways he introduces and intersects (auto-)biographical texts, photos, and illustrations to create a biographical pastiche.
In this chapter, a more sociological and qualitative conceptualization of relationality is provided. As with the Little Prince and the fox, building relationships require recognizing and subsequent care for the other, who becomes a special individual and not just one-of-many. The origins of the relational framework is traced to early writings from the phenomenologists and subsequent work by theorists of the ethical framework of care.
Most recently, the worlds attention has been captured by what seems like disparate issue areas: COVID-19, institutionalized racism, and (a longer-running theme) climate change. This book argues for the glue that connects these three issue areas in an intimate way: relationality. Indeed, the ways of coping with each of these areas requires that people discover, re-discover, and nurture the bonds that help one connect with the other. The chapter discusses how a relational model could be applied to carbon mitigation, and how this would differ from the model of a carbon tax. Directions for future work includes the need to work out how the relational mechanism interacts with behavioral mechanisms identified by Ostrom and Olson. How do we craft institutions that take advantage of all these models? How do we create institutions that increase connectedness between people who are not ordinarily part of the same social network? This book constitutes a small but significant step toward a concerted research program revolving around relationality.
How do we motivate the busy urbanite to care about melting glaciers half a world away? In a classroom in Pennsylvania, a teacher and his class begin interacting, online, with other students and teachers in Asia and Africa. Hearing from a teacher in Nepal about problems with glacial melt in their community, the issue of melting glaciers suddenly become immensely important to them. This phenomenon, of a change in individual orientation to connectedness, is what is referred to as relationality. Through empathy and perspective-taking, people are moved to other-regarding action in ways not considered by the literature on collective action and the commons. The book is a necessary addendum to Ostroms tome, Governing the Commons, and presents a new, relational, model of collective action and begins to imagine its implications for real-world institutions.
The culture of welcome in Germany in 2015 was met with admiration at home and abroad. Many people showed that they had great empathy for refugees. Yet the country could afford this feeling — unlike after the two World Wars, when the population itself was suffering and in need of assistance. Between 1946 and 1960, ten million families received care parcels from American welfare organisations. With the rise in its own prosperity, Germany’s willingness to help others also grew. In the early 1980s, citizens donated large amounts of money, medical supplies and clothes to the people of crisis-ridden Poland. Numerous individuals gave their support, as did church communities and welfare associations. Yet this chapter shows that empathy can also exclude people. Under the National Socialist regime, empathy had to be restricted to one’s own people and excluded ‘aliens’, such as Jews, foreign forced labourers and prisoners of war. Attacks on migrants and refugees since the 1990s show that some circles want to build walls around empathy and do not want it to be felt for everyone.
People are not autonomous individuals but connected beings. Curae ergo sum – we care, therefore we are. Relationality – which refers to the ethic and manner by which relational considerations govern decisions and institutional arrangements can take advantage of the power of connection – uncovers how social connection, across divides, moves people to act for the other. Drawing from research on empathy, social networks, and determinants of pro-social behavior, Caring, Empathy, and the Commons builds on Ostrom's Governing the Commons. It offers a different mechanism by which collective action is induced, arguing that, sometimes, the individual thinks not in terms of individual gain but in terms of the other. Developing this concept of relationality, this book explores various strands of literature and examines how this idea might be used to foster collective action around climate, species protection, fair trade, and other dilemmas of the commons.
The present study investigates the interplay between proficiency and empathy in the development of second language (L2) prosody by analyzing the perception and processing of intonation in questions and statements in L2 Spanish. A total of 225 adult L2 Spanish learners (L1 English) from the Northeastern United States completed a two-alternative forced choice (2AFC) task in which they listened to four utterance types and categorized them as either questions or statements. We used Bayesian multilevel regression and drift diffusion modeling to analyze the 2AFC data as a function of proficiency level and empathy scores for each utterance type. We show that learner response accuracy and sensitivity to intonation are positively correlated with proficiency, and this association is affected by individual empathy levels in both response accuracy and sentence processing. Higher empathic individuals, in comparison with lower empathic individuals, appear to be more sensitive to intonation cues in the process of forming sound-meaning associations, though increased sensitivity does not necessarily imply increased processing speed. The results motivate the inclusion of measures of pragmatic skill, such as empathy, to better account for intonational meaning processing and sentence comprehension in second language acquisition.
This article examines how Milla, the Afrikaner protagonist of Marlene van Niekerk’s post-apartheid novel Agaat, engages with others’ empathy toward herself. Theorizing empathy as a multivalent engagement with others’ experiences, I argue that Milla attempts to variously invite, avoid, and manipulate others’ empathy as she negotiates the anxiety of being misunderstood, the sense of vulnerability in being understood, and the dependence of her self-image on others’ opinions. Illustrating the fraught experience of encountering empathy toward oneself—a neglected topic in studies of empathy—the novel shows that empathy is neither always welcomed nor received passively by potential empathizees. Further, I suggest, the contrast between Milla’s approaches to empathy as empathizer and empathizee ironizes her struggles by indicating her proclivity for controlling empathic interactions. Demonstrating how power relations inform empathy, Agaat complicates the popular notion of empathy as a straightforward gateway to reconciliation by highlighting its characters’ ambivalences about receiving empathy.
This article explores the use of empathy in historical research. Using evidence collected from a number of academic historians working in UK higher education institutions in 2022, this article uses empathy as a window into historians’ attitudes towards the professional self, the appearance of objectivity and their relationship to the historical subject. It explores the role of empathy in learning history, teaching history, in historical research including the selection of sources, and in the communication of historical research to different audiences. It discusses empathetic historical approaches, suggesting that these can be categorised into three distinct taxonomies: historical empathy, where the researcher engages with the historical subject using professional detachment to manage their affective response; historicised empathy, where the researcher employs deep knowledge of historical context to understand and appreciate the worldview of their historical subject; and empathy as historical approach, so person-centred (rather than system-centred) accounts of history. Finally, this article tests its hypotheses by exploring histories in which empathy is absent.
This chapter explores Plutarch’s presentation of greatness as it equates with leadership ability and outcomes. He expressly values civic participation and leadership that aims to secure and promote the welfare of the community. Subsequent to the presentation of some basic information concerning his theories of education, especially ethical education, attention is then focused on the innate components of greatness and the appropriate means to develop this inborn talent in training individuals to wield power in an effective and responsible fashion. A comparative analysis is then undertaken to set forth the similarities and differences between the psychological/behavioral makeup of Plutarch’s ideal leader and recent influential work in leadership theory by Daniel Goleman, James MacGregor Burns, and Bernard M. Bass. The significant degree of correspondence elucidated leads to a discussion of the literary techniques Plutarch employs to place in sharper relief the salient aspects of great leadership (and its opposite), including his developed use of synkrisis and the Socratic paradigm, as well as the representation of performative acts of leadership.
This study aimed to determine the effect of psychological first-aid (PFA) E-learning on the competence and empathy of nurses in disasters.
In a randomized controlled trial, 50 nurses were randomly assigned to 2 intervention and control groups, and psychological first-aid training sessions were implemented for the intervention group. The data were collected using the personal information form, a researcher-made questionnaire to measure competence, and the Davis Empathy Questionnaire.
Two groups were homogeneous in terms of competency (P = 0.691) and empathy (P = 0.363) in the preintervention phase. The intervention group had more competence in the next stage than before the intervention (P < 0.0001). In the post-intervention phase, the intervention group had more competence compared with the control group (P < 0.0001). The overall effect size of PFA E-learning training on the nurses’ competency was 1.9. Regarding empathy, in the post-intervention phase, the subscale of personal distress (P = 0.014) was significantly lower in the intervention group and the perspective-taking subscale was higher than in the control group (P < 0.0001). However, there was no significant difference between the groups in terms of all scores of empathy and the subscale of empathic concern (P > 0.05). The overall effect size of PFA E-learning training on the nurses’ empathy was 0.44.
It is suggested to provide training, including a PFA E-learning model, for nurses and other therapists in disaster situations.