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Empathy - An Old Fashioned Notion Whose Time Has Passed?

Posted by Ponderer 
Re: Empathy - An Old Fashioned Notion Whose Time Has Passed?
February 17, 2015 07:37AM
Quote
Ponderer
So what? Empathy does not have to be perfect to exist. It doesn't have to be omniscient and unrealistically godlike or there's no such thing.

Empathy is about feeling. It's not about knowing.

That's the crux of the matter. If you aren't imagining or projecting yourself "into another person's position and experience all the sensations involved in that position" but instead a rather imperfect version of their emotions how is that empathy and not simply sympathy? Sympathy is by definition about feeling, in fact it is literally feeling with. But sympathy doesn't pretend to project one's personality into another. [dictionary.reference.com]
Re: Empathy - An Old Fashioned Notion Whose Time Has Passed?
February 17, 2015 07:47AM
[en.wikipedia.org]

"Empathy

Stephanie Preston and Frans de Waal,[55] Jean Decety,[56][57] and Vittorio Gallese[58][59] and Christian Keysers[3] have independently argued that the mirror neuron system is involved in empathy. A large number of experiments using fMRI, electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) have shown that certain brain regions (in particular the anterior insula, anterior cingulate cortex, and inferior frontal cortex) are active when people experience an emotion (disgust, happiness, pain, etc.) and when they see another person experiencing an emotion.[60][61][62][63][64][65][66] However, these brain regions are not quite the same as the ones which mirror hand actions, and mirror neurons for emotional states or empathy have not yet been described in monkeys.

More recently, Christian Keysers at the Social Brain Lab and colleagues have shown that people who are more empathic according to self-report questionnaires have stronger activations both in the mirror system for hand actions[67] and the mirror system for emotions,[65] providing more direct support for the idea that the mirror system is linked to empathy. Some researchers observed that the human mirror system does not passively respond to the observation of actions but is influenced by the mindset of the observer.[68] Researchers observed the link of the mirror neurons during empathetic engagement in patient care.[69]"

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"Build yourselves a wall of ships!" said the Oracle!
Re: Empathy - An Old Fashioned Notion Whose Time Has Passed?
February 17, 2015 08:42AM
Kairos,
I suspect that those neuroscientists or whoever wrote that Wikipedia entry are using the word empathy where sympathy would more properly be used.

Empathy is the ability to mutually experience the thoughts, emotions, and direct experience of others. It goes beyond sympathy, which is a feeling of care and understanding for the "feelings" of others. Both words have similar usage but differ in their emotional meaning. [en.wikipedia.org])
Re: Empathy - An Old Fashioned Notion Whose Time Has Passed?
February 17, 2015 09:40AM
Nope specifically they are referring to empathy, the projection of the feelings of others internally. They are proposing like I was earlier that this involves mirror neurons creating mirror representations in the brain. I've read a good pdf by neurologists suggesting that this takes place in the brocas and wernicke's area of the brain and that homologues of these in primates are associated with visual cues from hands and mouths allowing the processing of visual communication.

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"Build yourselves a wall of ships!" said the Oracle!
Re: Empathy - An Old Fashioned Notion Whose Time Has Passed?
February 17, 2015 10:34PM
Nice 3-minute video on The Difference Between Sympathy and Empathy: [themindunleashed.org]
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