The Direct-Perception Model of Empathy: a Critique [Book Review]
Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (3):519-540 (2011)
This paper assesses the so-called “direct-perception” model of empathy. This model draws much of its inspiration from the Phenomenological tradition: it is offered as an account free from the assumption that most, if not all, of another’s psychological states and experiences are unobservable and that one’s understanding of another’s psychological states and experiences are based on inferential processes. Advocates of this model also reject the simulation-based approach to empathy. I first argue that most of their criticisms miss their target because they are directed against the simulation-based approach to mindreading. Advocates of this model further subscribe to an expressivist conception of human behavior and assume that some of an individual’s psychological states (e.g. her goals and emotions, not her beliefs) can be directly perceived in the individual’s expressive behavior. I argue that advocates of the direct-perception model face the following dilemma: either they embrace behaviorism or else they must recognize that one could not understand another’s goal or emotion from her behavior alone without making contextual assumptions. Finally, advocates of the direct-perception model endorse the narrative competency hypothesis, according to which the ability to ascribe beliefs to another is grounded in the ability to understand narratives. I argue that this hypothesis is hard to reconcile with recent results in developmental psychology showing that preverbal human infants seem able to ascribe false beliefs to others
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References found in this work BETA
Folk Psychological Narratives: The Sociocultural Basis of Understanding Reasons.Daniel D. Hutto - 2007 - Bradford.
Understanding Others Through Primary Interaction and Narrative Practice.Shaun Gallagher & Daniel D. Hutto - 2008 - In J. Zlatev, T. Racine, C. Sinha & E. Itkonen (eds.), The Shared Mind: Perspectives on Intersubjectivity. John Benjamins. pp. 17â38.
A Unifying View of the Basis of Social Cognition.Vittorio Gallese, Christian Keysers & Giacomo Rizzolatti - 2004 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8 (9):396-403.
Citations of this work BETA
Empathy and Direct Social Perception: A Phenomenological Proposal. [REVIEW]Dan Zahavi - 2011 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (3):541-558.
Seeing Mind in Action.Joel Krueger - 2012 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (2):149-173.
Social Constraints on the Direct Perception of Emotions and Intentions.Shaun Gallagher & Somogy Varga - 2014 - Topoi 33 (1):185-199.
Theory of Mind and the Unobservability of Other Minds.Vivian Bohl & Nivedita Gangopadhyay - 2014 - Philosophical Explorations 17 (2):203-222.
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