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EmpathyPhilosophical and Psychological Perspectives$
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Amy Coplan and Peter Goldie

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199539956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199539956.001.0001

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Understanding Empathy:

Understanding Empathy:

Its Features and Effects

Chapter:
(p.2) (p.3) 1 Understanding Empathy:
Source:
Empathy
Author(s):

Amy Coplan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199539956.003.0002

The goal of this chapter is to propose a narrow conceptualization of empathy as a complex imaginative process in which an observer simulates another person's situated psychological states [both cognitive and affective] while maintaining clear self‐other differentiation. Theoretical and methodological reasons are given to support this conceptualization, which focuses on three principal features of empathy: affective matching, other‐oriented perspective taking, and self‐other differentiation. The proposed narrow conceptualization differs in some important respects from recent conceptualizations offered by philosophers and social scientists yet captures several of the key intuitive characteristics of the ordinary use of the term empathy and dovetails with recent empirical research.

Keywords:   empathy, perspective Taking, personal distress, emotional contagion, self‐other differentiation, affective matching, ampathic understanding

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