By L. Agosta
A rumor of empathy in vicarious receptivity, knowing, interpretation, narrative, and empathic intersubjectivity turns into the scandal of empathy in Lipps and Strachey. but whilst all of the philosophical arguments and different types are whole and all of the hermeneutic circles spun out, we're with ease within the presence of one other individual.
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Additional resources for A Rumor of Empathy: Rewriting Empathy in the Context of Philosophy
0005 A Rumor of Empathy Once again research in our own time is relevant to Hume (and vice versa). In the false belief test (Baron-Cohen 1995), the ability of one individual to take the point of view of the other is engaged. Typically children will fail the test at four years of age, but succeed in passing it at five. After the age of about five, a hypothesized “theory of mind” undergoes further development—perhaps even a paradigm shift—and the child is able to take the perspectives of different roles in the story, realizing what information is available from which perspective.
How to make such flights less rare and exceptional is part of the project of Hume’s inquiry. However, where there is the possibility of greatness, there is also the risk of smallness and pettiness. The following text bears witness to a polemical, debunking edge in Hume’s vision of morality that is not much appreciated today but is of the essence: Celibacy, fasting, penance, mortification, self-denial, humility, silence, solitude, and the whole train of monkish virtues; for what reason are they everywhere rejected by men of sense, but because they serve to no manner of purpose; neither advance a man’s fortune in the world, nor render him a more valuable member of society; neither qualify him for the entertainment of company, nor increase his power of self-enjoyment?
Hume gives a telling example in which one’s capability for fine-grained discriminations of details is properly tested in relation to a delicacy of taste. One connoisseur—an expert—is judging a barrel of amontillado sherry, and, remarks that it is very good but has a taste of iron. Another remarks that it tastes of leather. These responses are regarded as curious, if not absurd, and the connoisseurs are dismissed derisively—until the cask is drained, and a rusty key on a leather thong is discovered.