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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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Empathy, Expansionism, and the Extended Mind

Empathy, Expansionism, and the Extended Mind

(p.98) (p.99) 7 Empathy, Expansionism, and the Extended Mind

Murray Smith

Oxford University Press

This chapter advances a definition of empathy as *other‐focussed personal imagining,* a definition which at once distinguishes empathy from various lower‐level phenomena such as affective mimicry and emotional contagion, and specifies the relationship between such processes and fully‐fledged empathy. This account of empathy is then contextualized and developed further in relation to two other recent proposals. The theory of the *extended mind* stresses the way in which the human mind amplifies its capacities by the exploiting the world beyond the physical boundaries of the body; empathy may be both a mechanism and a beneficiary of such extension, its power being enhanced through the practice of narration. The theory of *expanded cognition* lays a related emphasis on the way in which everyday perceptual and cognitive routines are often stretched in the context of art; the scope and intensity of empathy may be expanded by narrative artworks in just this way.

Keywords:   empathy, central imagining, personal imagining, affective mimicry emotional contagion, extended mind, expansionism, mirror neurons, simulation, scene of empathy, Currie, Walton, Clark, Chalmers, Lopes

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