Empathy with One's Past

Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (s1):193-207 (2011)
This paper presents two ideas in connection with the notion of empathic access to one's past, where this notion is understood as consisting of memories of one's past from the inside, plus a fundamental sympathy for those remembered states. The first idea is that having empathic access is a necessary condition for one's personal identity and survival. I give reasons to reject this view, one such reason being that it in effect blocks off the possibility of profound personal progress through radical change. The second idea is that empathy with one's past should, as a matter of necessity, be modeled on empathy with another person. I reject this two-state model, arguing for the alternative possibility of a one-state model, according to which one's thoughts and memories of one's past can become infused with one's present thoughts about and attitudes toward one's past.
Keywords empathy
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DOI 10.1111/j.2041-6962.2011.00067.x
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