Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 23 (2):191-203 (2020)

Authors
Christine Clavien
University of Geneva
Abstract
Empathic concern is essential to our social lives because it motivates helping behavior. It has, however, well-known shortcomings such as its limitation in scope. Here, we highlight a further shortcoming of empathic concern: it contributes little to understanding the relevant features of complex social situations, and unaided by further cognitive inputs, likely fails to produce effective helping. We then elaborate on the conditions needed for an accurate assessment of others’ situations: the ability to pay attention and try to understand others for their own sake. We explain that when combining these abilities with the valuing aspect of empathic concern, we obtain “availability”, an understudied mental state which plays a crucial role in helping motivation. We provide a detailed definition of that notion and show how availability can be trained and exercised by health professionals in order to improve their care and relationships with patients.
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DOI 10.1007/s11019-019-09935-1
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References found in this work BETA

Principles of Biomedical Ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - Oxford University Press.
The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - Dover Publications.
The Ethics of Care and Empathy. [REVIEW]M. Slote - 2009 - Analysis 69 (1):190-192.

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