Sympathy: A History

Paperback | September 30, 2015

EditorEric Schliesser

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Our modern-day word for sympathy is derived from the classical Greek word for fellow-feeling. Both in the vernacular as well as in the various specialist literatures within philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, economics, and history, "sympathy" and "empathy" are routinely conflated. Inpractice, they are also used to refer to a large variety of complex, all-too-familiar social phenomena: for example, simultaneous yawning or the giggles. Moreover, sympathy is invoked to address problems associated with social dislocation and political conflict. It is, then, turned into a vehicle toward generating harmony among otherwise isolated individuals and a way for them to fit into a larger whole, be it society and the universe.This volume offers a historical overview of some of the most significant attempts to come to grips with sympathy in Western thought from Plato to experimental economics. The contributors are leading scholars in philosophy, classics, history, economics, comparative literature, and political science. Sympathy is originally developed in Stoic thought. It was also taken up by Plotinus and Galen. There are original contributed chapters on each of these historical moments. Use for the concept was re-discovered in the Renaissance. And the volume has original chapters not just on medical andphilosophical Renaissance interest in sympathy, but also on the role of antipathy in Shakespeare and the significance of sympathy in music theory. Inspired by the influence of Spinoza, sympathy plays a central role in the great moral psychologies of, say, Anne Conway, Leibniz, Hume, Adam Smith, and Sophie De Grouchy during the eighteenth century. The volume should offers an introduction to key background concept that is often overlooked inmany of the most important philosophies of the early modern period.About a century ago the idea of Einfuhlung (or empathy) was developed in theoretical philosophy, then applied in practical philosophy and the newly emerging scientific disciplines of psychology. Moreover, recent economists have rediscovered sympathy in part experimentally and, in part by carefulre-reading of the classics of the field.

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Our modern-day word for sympathy is derived from the classical Greek word for fellow-feeling. Both in the vernacular as well as in the various specialist literatures within philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, economics, and history, "sympathy" and "empathy" are routinely conflated. Inpractice, they are also used to refer to a large v...

Eric Schliesser is a philosopher with a wide variety of interests; he published extensively on seventeenth and eighteenth century science, metaphysics, and moral and political philosophy, including Newton, Spinoza, David Hume, Adam Smith, and Sophie de Grouchy; he also publishes regularly in philosophy of economics. At Ghent he has hel...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:464 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:September 30, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199928894

ISBN - 13:9780199928897

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Table of Contents

List of IllustrationsContributorsSeries Editor's ForewordEditor's AcknowledgmentsEric Schliesser: Introduction: On Sympathy1. Rene Brouwer: Stoic Sympathy2. Eyjclfur Kjalar Emilsson: Plotinus on sympatheiaBrooke Holmes: Reflection: Galen's Sympathy3. Ann Moyer: Sympathy in the RenaissanceGiuseppe Gerbino: Reflection: Music and Sympathy4. Christia Mercer: Seventeenth-Century Universal Sympathy: Stoicism, Platonism, Leibniz, and ConwaySarah Skwire: Reflection: "Take physic, pomp": King Lear Learns Sympathy5. Karolina Hbner: Spinoza's Parallelism Doctrine and Metaphysical Sympathy6. Ryan Hanley: The Eighteenth-Century Context of Sympathy from Spinoza to KantJulie Candler Hayes: Reflection: Theaters of Sympathy in France7. Geoffrey Sayre-Mccord: Hume and Smith on Sympathy, Approbation, and Moral JudgmentElizabeth Millen: Reflection: Tracing a Line of Sympathy for Nature in Goethe's Wahlverwandtschaften8. Bernard Reginster: Sympathy in Schopenhauer and Nietzsche9. Remy Debes: From Einfhlung to Empathy: Sympathy in Early Phenomenology and Psychology10. David M. Levy and Sandra Peart: Sympathy Caught Between Darwin and Eugenics11. Vernon L. Smith and Bart J. Wilson: Fair and Impartial Spectators in Experimental Economic Behavior: Using Sympathy to Derive Action