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Rediscovering Empathy : Agency, Folk Psychology, and the Human Sciences - Karsten Stueber

Rediscovering Empathy

Agency, Folk Psychology, and the Human Sciences

Paperback

Published: 20th August 2010
For Ages: 18+ years old
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In this timely and wide-ranging study, Karsten Stueber argues that empathy is epistemically central for our folk-psychological understanding of other agents--that it is something we cannot do without in order to gain understanding of other minds. Setting his argument in the context of contemporary philosophy of mind and the interdisciplinary debate about the nature of our mindreading abilities, Stueber counters objections raised by some in the philosophy of social science and argues that it is time to rehabilitate the empathy thesis. Empathy, regarded at the beginning of the twentieth century as the fundamental method of gaining knowledge of other minds, has suffered a century of philosophical neglect. Stueber addresses the plausible philosophical misgivings about empathy that have been responsible for its failure to gain widespread philosophical acceptance. Crucial in this context is his defense of the assumption, very much contested in contemporary philosophy of mind, that the notion of rational agency is at the core of folk psychology. Stueber then discusses the contemporary debate between simulation theorists--who defend various forms of the empathy thesis--and theory theorists. In distinguishing between basic and reenactive empathy, he provides a new interpretive framework for the investigation into our mindreading capacities. Finally, he considers epistemic objections to empathy raised by the philosophy of social science that have been insufficiently discussed in contemporary debates. Empathy theorists, Stueber writes, should be prepared to admit that, although empathy can be regarded as the central default mode for understanding other agents, there are certain limitations in its ability to make sense of other agents; and there are supplemental theoretical strategies available to overcome these limitations.

This book will be of interest for any scholars interested in interpretation, generally speaking, but might be more accessible for philosophers of mind and social science. Cognitive scientists, social psychologists, and social scientists will also find many discussions in the book relevant for their field.

-metapsychology
...[A]dmirably complete and impartial...covers a tremendous range of ideas...anyone interested in how one person understands another, or understands a social phenomenon, will find things here to think about...

-The Philosophical Quarterly * Reviews *
...[A]n ambitious new account of the simulation theory of folk psychology...a forceful, novel, and engaging defense...warmly recommended...

-Mind * Reviews *
Karsten R. Stueber's Rediscovering Empathy is a sustained and powerfully argued critique...important and well-argued...

-Philosophical Investigations * Reviews *
Stueber's Rediscovering Empathy articulates an interesting and highly original defense of empathy as a distinctive method of explanation in the social sciences....an extremely valuable contribution to contemporary debates in the philosophy of mind...contains a wealth of fascinating details....

-History and Theory * Reviews *
There are many good things to be said about this book. It takes up an important trend in recent (philosophy of) psychology: the growing insight that empathy, or mental simulation, is an integral element in the cognitive mechanisms underlying the application of folk-psychology....provides an accessible and at the same time profound introduction to the topic....rich and stimulating...

-dialectica * Reviews *
This book will be of interest for any scholars interested in interpretation, generally speaking, but might be more accessible for philosophers of mind and social science. Cognitive scientists, social psychologists, and social scientists will also find many discussions in the book relevant for their field.

-metapsychology * Reviews *

Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 1
Empathy and Knowledge of Other Minds: A Historical Perspectivep. 5
Arguing for Empathy Systematicallyp. 19
Brief Excursus: Empathy, Sympathy, and Social Psychologyp. 26
Folk Psychology and Rational Agencyp. 33
Eliminativism and the Allure of the Detached Conception of Folk Psychologyp. 34
Humans as Rational Animals: Cleaning Up a Confusion in the Rationality Debatep. 48
Charity and Rational Contextualismp. 65
In Defense of Global Charityp. 66
Rational Contextualism versus Bounded Rationalityp. 80
The Theory of Mind Debatep. 99
The Theory-Theory Paradigmp. 105
The Simulation Paradigmp. 111
Basic Empathy and Reenactive Empathyp. 131
Mindreading, Folk-Psychological Concepts, and Mirror Neuronsp. 132
The Essential Contextuality and Indexicality of Thoughts as Reasonsp. 152
Folk Psychology and Normative Epistemologyp. 173
Empathy, Folk-Psychological Predictions, and Explanationsp. 178
The Limits of Empathyp. 195
Objections and Misconceptions in the Philosophy of Social Sciencep. 196
Empathy and the Prejudical Nature of Understandingp. 204
Concluding Remarksp. 219
Notesp. 221
Referencesp. 251
Indexp. 271
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780262515184
ISBN-10: 0262515180
Series: A Bradford Book
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 20th August 2010
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 1.3
Weight (kg): 0.39