Riana Betzler
Washington University in St. Louis
ABSTRACTQuestions about how empathy should be conceptualized have long been a preoccupation of the field of empathy research. There are numerous definitions of empathy that have been proposed and that often overlap with other concepts such as sympathy and compassion. This makes communication between research groups or across disciplines difficult. Many researchers seem to see the diversity of definitions as a problem rather than a form of benign pluralism. Within this debate about conceptualization, researchers sometimes suggest that more neuroscientific evidence will make the problem go away – that uncovering the processes underlying empathy will thereby also sort out conceptual difficulties. In this paper, I challenge this assumption by examining how neuroscientists studying empathy use concepts in practice – both in the development of their measures and in the interpretation of their data. I argue that this neuroscientific literature demonstrates that continuity and stability comes from the use of cert...
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DOI 10.1080/09672559.2019.1601384
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Empathy: Its Ultimate and Proximate Bases.Stephanie D. Preston & Frans B. M. de Waal - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (1):1-20.
The Empathic Brain: How, When and Why?Frederique de Vignemont & Tania Singer - 2006 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10 (10):435-441.
Understanding Empathy.A. Coplan - 2011 - In Amy Coplan & Peter Goldie (eds.), Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives. Oxford University Press. pp. 3--18.
Is Construct Validation Valid?Anna Alexandrova & Daniel M. Haybron - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (5):1098-1109.

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