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Abstract: If Sam empathizes with Maria, then it is true of Sam that (1) Sam is aware of Maria's emotion, and (2) Sam feels in tune with Maria. On what I call the transparency conception of how they interact when instantiated, I argue that these two conditions are collectively necessary and sufficient for empathy. I first clarify the awareness and feeling in tune conditions, and go on to examine different candidate models that explain the manner in which these two conditions might come to be concomitantly instantiated in a subject. I dismiss what I call the parallel and oscillation models for not satisfying the transparency condition, i.e. for failing to capture that, if Sam empathizes with Maria, then Sam's own emotional experience towards the object of Maria's emotion has to be mediated by Maria's own emotional experience. I conclude in favour the fusion model as the only model capable of satisfying the transparency condition, and I argue that the suggested proposal illuminates the difference between it and other ways in which we understand the emotions of others. Finally, I expand and clarify the conception of empathy as transparency through responses to obvious objections that the view raises. Key Words: empathy emotion philosophy psychology simulation
Abstract: The author proposes a dimensional model of our emotion concepts that is intended to be largely independent of one’s theory of emotions and applicable to the different ways in which emotions are measured. He outlines some conditions for selecting the dimensions based on these motivations and general conceptual grounds. Given these conditions he then advances an 8-dimensional model that is shown to effectively differentiate emotion labels both within and across cultures, as well as more obscure expressive language. The 8 dimensions are: (1) attracted—repulsed, (2) powerful—weak, (3) free—constrained, (4) certain—uncertain, (5) generalized—focused, (6) future directed—past directed, (7) enduring—sudden, (8) socially connected—disconnected.
Abstract: In _What Emotions Really Are: The problem of psychological categories_ I argued that it is unlikely that all the psychological states and processes that fall under the vernacular category of emotion are sufficiently similar to one another to allow a unified scientific psychology of the emotions. In this paper I restate what I mean by ?natural kind? and my argument for supposing that emotion is not a natural kind in this specific sense. In the following sections I discuss the two most promising proposals to reunify the emotion category: the revival of the Jamesian theory of emotion associated with the writings of Antonio Damasio and a philosophical approach to the content of emotional representations that draws on ?multi-level appraisal theory? in psychology
Abstract: This paper argues against hedonistic theories of happiness. First, hedonism is too inclusive: many pleasures cannot plausibly be construed as constitutive of happiness. Second, any credible theory must count either attitudes of life satisfaction, affective states such as mood, or both as constituents of happiness; yet neither sort of state reduces to pleasure. Hedonism errs in its attempt to reduce happiness, which is at least partly dispositional, to purely episodic experiential states. The dispositionality of happiness also undermines weakened nonreductive forms of hedonism, as some happiness-constitutive states are not pleasures in any sense. Moreover, these states can apparently fail to exhibit the usual hedonic properties; sadness, for instance, can sometimes be pleasant. Finally, the nonhedonistic accounts are adequate if not superior on grounds of practical and theoretical utility, quite apart from their superior conformity to the folk notion of happiness
Abstract: It is widely believed that empathy is a good thing, from a moral point of view. It is something we should cultivate because it makes us better people. Perhaps that’s true. But it is also sometimes suggested that empathy is somehow necessary for morality. That is the hypothesis I want to interrogate and challenge. Not only is there little evidence for the claim that empathy is necessary, there is also reason to think empathy can interfere with the ends of morality. A capacity for empathy might make us better people, but placing empathy at the center of our moral lives may be ill‐advised. That is not to say that morality shouldn’t centrally involve emotions. I think emotions are essential for moral judgment and moral motivation (Prinz, 2007). It’s just that empathetic emotions are not ideally suited for these jobs. Before embarking on this campaign against empathy, I want to say a little more about the target of the attack. What is empathy? And what would it mean to say empathy is necessary for morality? With respect to the first question, much has been written. Theories of empathy abound. Batson et al. (1995: 1042) define empathy as, “as an other‐oriented emotional response congruent with the perceived welfare of another person.” This is not the definition I will be using. Batson’s construct might be better characterized as “concern,” because of its focus on another person’s welfare. Indeed, in much of his research he talks about “empathetic concern.” Notice that this construct seems to be a combination of two separable things. Being concerned for someone is worrying about their welfare, which is something one can do even if one doesn’t feel what it would be like to be in their place. One can have concern for a plant, for example, and an insect, or even an artifact, like a beautiful building that has into disrepair. Empathy, seems to connote a kind of feeling that has to be at last possible for the object of empathy. If so, “empathetic concern” combines two different things—a find of feeling‐for an object and a feeling‐on‐behalf‐of an object. Much of the empirical literature, including the superb research that Batson has done, fails to isolate these components, and, as a result, some of the existing studies are confounded. They purport to show the value of empathy, but may really show the value of concern. My focus below will be on empathy, and I leave it as an open possibility that concern is highly important, if not necessary, for morality. Indeed, concern often seems to involve an element kind of moral anger, which I will argue is very important to morality. It is also important to distinguish empathy from sympathy. Suppose I feel outraged for someone who has been brainwashed into thinking she should follow a cult leader who is urging mass suicide. That would not necessarily qualify as empathy. As Darwall (1998: 261) points out, sympathy is a third‐person emotional response, whereas empathy involves putting oneself in another person’s shoes. But 1 Darwall’s definition is also somewhat problematic. He says, “Empathy consists in feeling what one imagines he feels, or perhaps should feel (fear, say), or in some imagined copy of these feelings, whether one comes thereby to be concerned … or not.” This definition has two features, which I would like to avoid. First, the appeal to imagination seems overly intellectual. Imagination sounds like a kind of mental act that requires effort on the part of the imaginer. As Darwell recognizes, empathy in its simplest form empathy is just emotional contagion: catching the emotion that another person feels (Hatfield et al., 1994; Hoffman, 2000). It seems inflated to call contagion an imaginative act. Also, I want to resist Darwall’s application of “empathy” to cases where one has a feeling that someone should feel, but does not feel. The problem is that this tends to blur the distinction between empathy and sympathy. Suppose I encounter a member of a cult who is delighted by the cult leader’s nefarious plans. The cult member should by afraid, but is not. If I feel fear on the cult member’s behalf, that is not putting myself in the cult member’s shoes. As I will use the term, empathy requires a kind of emotional mimicry. I do not wish to imply that empathy is always an automatic process, in the way that emotional contagion is. Sometimes imagination is requires, and sometimes we experience emotions that we think someone would be experiencing, even if we have not seen direct evidence that the emotion is, in fact, being experienced. For example, one might feel empathetic hope for a marathon runner who is a few steps behind the runner is first place, or anxiety for the first place runner, and the second place runner catches up. We can experience these feelings even if the runners’ facial expressions reveal little more than muscular contortions associated with concentration and physical exertion. A situation can reveal a feeling. The core idea, as I will use the term, is that empathy is a kind of vicarious emotion: it’s feeling what one takes another person to be feeling. And the “taking” here can be a matter of automatic contagion or the result of a complicated exercise of the imagination. I don’t think there is anything anachronistic about this notion of empathy. I think it has a long tradition in moral philosophy, even though the term “empathy” is only 100 years old. The British moralists, including David Hume and Adam Smith, used “sympathy” in way that is similar to the way I want to use “empathy.” Here is Smith (1759: II.i): “Whatever is the passion which arises from any object in the person principally concerned, an analogous emotion springs up, at the thought of his situation, in the breast of every attentive spectator.” My question, in the pages that follow, is whether empathy so‐defined is necessary for morality. I should note again, in advance, that the empirical literature does not always distinguish between the constructs I have been discussing, but I do think that all the studies I discuss below can, by inference at least, shed some light on empathy as defined here. The suggestion that empathy is necessary for morality can be interpreted in at least three different ways. One might hold the view that empathy is necessary for making moral judgment. One might think empathy is necessary for moral development. And one might think empathy is necessary for motivating moral conduct. I think each of these conjectures is false. Empathy is not necessary for any of these things. We can have moral systems without empathy. Of course, it doesn’t follow directly that empathy should be eliminated from morality. One might think the modal question—Can there be morality without empathy?—and the related....
Abstract: There are two major perspectives on the origin of emotions. According to one, emotions are the products of natural selection. They are evolved adaptations, best understood using the explanatory tools of evolutionary psychology. According to the other, emotions are socially constructed, and they vary across cultural boundaries. There is evidence supporting both perspectives. In light of this, some have argued both approaches are right. The standard strategy for compromise is to say that some emotions are evolved and others are constructed. The evolved emotions are sometimes given the label “basic,” and there is considerable agreement about a handful of emotions in this category. My goal here is to challenge all of these perspectives. I don’t think we should adopt a globally evolutionary approach, nor indulge the radical view that emotions derive entirely from us. I am equally dissatisfied with approaches that attempt to please Darwinians and constructivists by dividing emotions into two separate classes. I will defend another kind of ecumenicalism. Every emotion that we have a name for is the product of both nature and nurture. Emotions are evolved and constructed. The dichotomy between the two approaches cannot be maintained. This thesis will require making some claims that would be regarded as surprising to many emotion researchers. First, while there is a difference between basic emotions and nonbasic emotions, it is not a structural difference. All emotions are fundamentally alike. Second, the standard list of basic emotions, though by many to be universal across cultures, are not basic after all. We don’t have names for the basic emotions. All emotions that we talk about are culturally informed. And finally, this concession to constructivism does not imply that emotions are cognitive in any sense. Emotions are perceptual and embodied. They are gut reactions, and they are not unique to our species..
Abstract: Moral emotions represent a key element of our human moral apparatus, influencing the link between moral standards and moral behavior. This chapter reviews current theory and research on moral emotions. We first focus on a triad of negatively valenced "self-conscious" emotions - shame, guilt, and embarrassment. As in previous decades, much research remains focused on shame and guilt. We review current thinking on the distinction between shame and guilt, and the relative advantages and disadvantages of these two moral emotions. Several new areas of research are highlighted: research on the domain-specific phenomenon of body shame, styles of coping with shame, psychobiological aspects of shame, the link between childhood abuse and later proneness to shame, and the phenomena of vicarious or "collective" experiences of shame and guilt. In recent years, the concept of moral emotions has been expanded to include several positive emotions - elevation, gratitude, and the sometimes morally relevant experience of pride. Finally, we discuss briefly a morally relevant emotional process - other-oriented empathy