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
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