Empathy

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Reply Wed 22 Apr, 2009 08:41 pm
The ability to "put myself in another's shoes" is not enough for an entity to have empathy. Empathy requires the additional application of good or bad meaning to my idea of experiencing what the other entity is experiencing. Furthermore, there needs to be some acknowledgment that the other entity can feel the imagined experience, that the other entity applies a good or bad meaning to the experience, and then I must apply a good or bad meaning to that acknowledgment & realization.

#6 in the list below is basically the definition of empathy, but I think all the rest are necessary for empathy as well. (By "apply a good or bad meaning", in #6, I am talking about my feelings, sort of, as in "I feel good or bad".)

The Steps of Empathy
1. I perceive another entity.
2. I perceive something happen involving the entity.
3. I imagine myself experiencing the event in the other entity's position, as it experiences it.
4. I acknowledge that the other entity is indeed experiencing the event.
5. I believe that the entity applies a good or bad meaning to its experience.
6. I apply a good or bad meaning to the other entity's good/bad experience that is congruent (or at least similar to) the other entity's application of good or bad to its experience.

My question is:
Is #3 a necessary part of being empathetic? Is "imagining myself experiencing what the other entity is experiencing" simply selfish, and therefore should not be included? Or is it a necessary step toward knowing that the other entity's experience is real?

Or... What do you think about my whole assessment of empathy in general?
 
Dylan phil
 
Reply Wed 22 Apr, 2009 11:58 pm
@loudthoughts,
loudthoughts wrote:
The Steps of Empathy
3. I imagine myself experiencing the event in the other entity's position, as it experiences it.

My question is:
Is #3 a necessary part of being empathetic? Is "imagining myself experiencing what the other entity is experiencing" simply selfish, and therefore should not be included? Or is it a necessary step toward knowing that the other entity's experience is real?


I would not say that such a step is a necessity or a requirement, but in order to get somewhat of a grasp of what the other entity is feeling you must first attempt to seriously emulate their own emotion. I would not say it is selfish as you just wish to help the other entity, and knowing how they feel will help you do such a thing.
 
 

 
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