How can we understand another person’s feelings, thoughts, words, or behaviour? Through empathy, it is hoped, we might use our imaginations to shift our perspective into another person’s, thereby grasping their thoughts and emotions.
In this insightful new book, Derek Matravers negotiates the evolution of this fascinating concept. He explores the roots of the term in the work of David Hume and Adam Smith, its re-emergence in a new form in nineteenth-century German philosophy, and its resurgence as something different again in contemporary Anglo-American philosophy. In doing so, he explores the important role empathy, in all its forms, has played in the study of the mind, the emotions and aesthetics, and in ethics.
Empathy is an ideal introduction to one of the most absorbing contemporary philosophical debates.