Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 22 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter sets out several views of empathy that draw not only on psychology's literature but on philosophical and psychiatric writings. Empathy is a set of complex concepts involving perception, emotion, attitudinal orientation, and other cognitive processes as well as an activity that expresses character traits and, hence, one of the virtues. In other words, an examination of the philosophical and clinical literature reveals empathy to be not one unified concept but instead a set of related characteristics and qualities needed to be an ethical and therapeutically effective clinician. To this end, the chapter offers reasons as to why empathy is important to clinical work: empathy is both epistemically and ethically necessary to good social relations and, in particular, clinical relations. It then distinguishes empathy from a related concept called "world"-traveling and situates its relevance to therapeutic relations. Finally it brings these ideas together by highlighting Iris Murdoch's ideas of "just vision" and "loving attention."

Keywords: empathy, empathy as a virtue, world-traveling, mirror neurons, imagination, place-taking

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.