Empathy and Compassion

14 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2010

Date Written: 2008


Can we know what another is feeling? Ask a nonphilosopher (and many a philosopher), and, if your audience deigns to produce more than a pained expression, the answer will be an impatient affirmation. That - minus the impatience - is my answer too. Genuinely questioning whether we can know what others think and feel is a sign of insanity. Nonetheless, I contend that we often think we know what another thinks and feels when in fact we do not. Knowing how another thinks and feels can be, and often is, a difficult achievement and our efforts in this regard are often at best only partially successful. Others are far more opaque to us than we may suppose.

Keywords: Philosophy, Empathy, Compassion, Other Minds, Deception Argument

Suggested Citation

Warner, Richard, Empathy and Compassion (2008). Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology, Vol. 9, p. 813, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1711880

Richard Warner (Contact Author)

Chicago-Kent College of Law ( email )

565 West Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60661
United States

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