The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Empathy

Heidi Maibom 2017

E-BOOK: 410 english pages

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Empathy plays a central role in the history and contemporary study of ethics, interpersonal understanding, and the emotions, yet until now has been relatively underexplored. The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Empathy is an outstanding reference source to the key topics, problems and debates in this exciting field and is the first collection of its kind. Comprising over thirty chapters by a team of international contributors, the Handbook is divided into six parts:

  • Core issues
  • History of empathy
  • Empathy and understanding
  • Empathy and morals
  • Empathy in art and aesthetics
  • Empathy and individual differences.

Within these sections central topics and problems are examined, including: empathy and imagination; neuroscience; David Hume and Adam Smith; understanding; evolution; altruism; moral responsibility; art, aesthetics, and literature; gender; empathy and related disciplines such as anthropology.

Essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy, particularly ethics and philosophy of mind and psychology, the Handbook will also be of interest to those in related fields, such as anthropology and social psychology.


A CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, 2018

“One might assume that the study of empathy would belong to the province of psychology, with its focus on humans’ emotional approaches to situations. This comprehensive and richly informative handbook proves that such an assumption would be in error. Edited by a philosopher with a longstanding interest in empathy, this work brings together a number of contemporary philosophers’ perspectives on the subject. … An important addition to any philosophy and psychology collection. Summing Up: Essential.” – R. R. Cornelius, CHOICE

“This Handbook helps focus the debate on what empathy is, how it is instantiated, what are its determinants, and how it functions and evolved in the human mind. Some chapters will be uncontentious, and others highly contentious, and that is as it should be if it is to spark discussion and advance the scholarship of empathy as a natural resource for critical social challenges including conflict resolution.” Simon Baron-Cohen, University of Cambridge, UK

“This is a very impressive collection of new essays: wide-ranging, lively, imaginative, and comprehensive. It promises to be an essential resource for scholars and students.” – James Harold, Mount Holyoke College, USA

“A necessary resource for anyone interested in empathy, whether they are a seasoned investigator or a student coming to the topic for the first time. The book offers a comprehensive overview of current work on empathy from a wide range of perspectives. It furnishes insights into empathy and Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, neuroscience, psychopathology, gender, film, painting, music, literature, empathic accuracy, and other crucial areas. I am truly excited about this book.” – Nancy E. Snow, University of Oklahoma, USA

“Overall, The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Empathy is fully recommended to all those who aims at pursuing their own research on empathy and on any of the related topics. Suggestions for further and highly specialized reading will be found all over the book as well as in the introduction. The best quality of this book is that it discusses its main topics in all the relevant aspects, bringing together foundational and the newest trends in the philosophy of empathy. Moreover, I would highly recommend this book to the layman brought to it by personal curiosity concerning the charming ad complex phenomena of empathy.” – Flavia Felletti, PhD Researcher, University of Duisburg-Essen

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