Empathy: A Phenomenological and Dynamical Systems Approach
The dominant accounts of empathy today are theory-theory and simulation theory. I argue against these accounts due to their cognitivism, which requires the attribution of mental states to other individuals. The cognitivist account often isolates particular cognitive mechanisms or brain functions that are predicted as predominant in giving rise to human’s ability to know other minds. This paper does two things. First phenomenology relevant to our shared experience with others is discussed at length. In doing so, the discourse is shifted from a discussion of minds, mental events, and isolated cognitive mechanisms, to experience that is distributed not only throughout the body, but extended into the artifacts and world in which we’re embedded. Second, what follows from an analysis of social phenomenological accounts is a discussion of new paradigms in cognitive science that provide empirical support for the phenomenological framework. Particularly, extended cognitive systems, dynamical modeling, and research in joint action phenomenon are examined in length, and an overlap between the phenomenology and these new disciplines is articulated.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2016
- F&M Theses Collection