Depth psychology, death and the hermeneutic of empathy


Abstract
The paper develops an understanding of empathy by considering the role of time in distinct empathic situations. Beginning with a brief review of the history of the concept of empathy the argument proceeds to the notion that empathy entails the universalization of an individual's experience. This results in the domination of the experience of the other by appeal to what is termed the "always." Depth psychology, especially in its Jungian form, shows us that empathy can in fact take this highly negative form by way of projection. The association of empathy and projection brings us to the question of how one confronts the death of the other in an empathic manner. Here the problem of one's individual temporality becomes crucial. In order to retain the unique and the personal experience of one's own death as a prospect in the future it is necessary to overcome any empathic relationship to the person who has died. This necessity gives rise to a hermeneutic of empathy which seeks to overcome the experience of the "always." CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
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DOI 10.1093/jmp/6.1.67
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