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date: 22 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

When considering the current debate on empathy, it quickly becomes evident that a diversity of definitions of and approaches to the topic are available, and that no consensus seems forthcoming. The aim of our contribution is not to resolve these disputes or to argue in favor of any one particular way of conceptualizing empathy. Instead, our aim is to open up a new perspective by exploring the potential of applying embodied, extended, enactive, and embedded approaches to empathy research. As we shall see, these approaches help to integrate insights from phenomenology and the cognitive sciences in thinking about empathy, as well as in understanding the role of reciprocity, intentional alignment, embodied simulation, and the second-person perspective in empathy. They also highlight the inadequacy of the widespread assumption that empathy amounts to a form of affective matching or mirroring.

Keywords: empathy, affective matching, mirroring, embodied simulation, phenomenology, intentional alignment, reciprocity, second-person perspective

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