Emergence and empathy
The topic of empathy has recently received a good deal of attention, both for the questions it raises about its mechanisms and for the role it might play in motivating moral behaviour. The present chapter addresses both of these questions in the light of considerations about how shared experiences emerge from emotional interactions between individuals. It comprises three parts. I begin with the more general issue of the reducibility of collective emotions to individual emotions or other, sub-emotional, individual states. I do this by briefly situating the discussion in the context of two notions that have been somewhat contentious in philosophy during the last few decades: externalism, and emergence. In the second part, I narrow my focus to empathy, and discuss some speculations about its mechanism. In a third and concluding section, I draw on both the preceding discussion as well as some further considerations to buttress sceptical doubts about the importance of empathy for morality.
de Sousa, R. (2014)., Emergence and empathy, in A. Konzelmann-Ziv & H. B. Schmid (eds.), Institutions, emotions, and group agents, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 141-158.
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