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Empathy and Morality$
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Heidi L. Maibom

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199969470

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199969470.001.0001

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Empathy in Other Apes

Empathy in Other Apes

Chapter:
(p.193) 10 Empathy in Other Apes
Source:
Empathy and Morality
Author(s):

Kristin Andrews

Lori Gruen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199969470.003.0010

Great apes have been observed to help one another cross roads, spring traps set by poachers, share food after group hunts, respond to the recently dead as if they were grieving, and to play with sticks as if they were dolls. But some deny that empathy is involved. This chapter argues that great apes empathic behavior does not fit the spectatorial model tested in recent studies. Ape empathy and ape morality are best seen from the perspective of their engaged interactions with others as individuals with relationships, past histories, personalities, social roles, emotions, and moods. When empathy is seen merely as the ability to correctly attribute mental states to others, it loses the richness involved in the entangled empathy experienced between individuals, which has cognitive as well as conative elements, and conclusions about ape ethics can only be that they have a rudimentary precursor to real human morality.

Keywords:   ape empathy, ape morality, autonomy, relationships

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