Empathy and Testimonial Trust


Authors
Olivia Bailey
Tulane University
Abstract
Our collective enthusiasm for empathy reflects a sense that it is deeply valuable. I show that empathy bears a complex and surprisingly problematic relation to another social epistemic phenomenon that we have reason to value, namely testimonial trust. My discussion focuses on empathy with and trust in people who are members of one or more oppressed groups. Empathy for oppressed people can be a powerful tool for engendering a certain form of testimonial trust, because there is a tight connection between empathy and a approval of another's outlook. I then argue that the qualities of empathy that make it such a powerful tool for bridging differences and building trust also have a problematic upshot: they make it the case that reliance on empathy will sometimes have a distorting effect upon the ways we extend testimonial trust.
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DOI 10.1017/s1358246118000589
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References found in this work BETA

Getting Told and Being Believed.Richard A. Moran - 2005 - Philosophers' Imprint 5:1-29.
White Ignorance.Charles Mills - 2007 - In Shannon Sullivan Nancy Tuana (ed.), Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance. State Univ of New York Pr. pp. 11--38.
Against Empathy.Jesse Prinz - 2011 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (s1):214-233.

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Citations of this work BETA

Empathetic Understanding and Deliberative Democracy.Michael Hannon - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Harms and Wrongs in Epistemic Practice.Simon Barker, Charlie Crerar & Trystan S. Goetze - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 84:1-21.

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