Empathy and Sympathy as Tactile Encounter

Edith Wyschogrod

in Crossover Queries

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226061
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235148 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Empathy and Sympathy as Tactile               Encounter

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This chapter considers several theories of sense that are brought up short by the peculiarities of touch and reveal features of tactility that are of importance for a phenomenological understanding of empathy and sympathy. It argues that the tactile subject—the subject that can touch and be touched by the other—is the experiencing subject of these feeling-acts. In the course of this discussion, the chapter also considers the affinities and overlappings that, though loose, unite empathy and sympathy, while taking into account their differences and particularities. In addition, the chapter touches upon the consequences of ignoring the primordiality of tactile experience by considering the ressentiment view of pity, which unites empathy to vision rather than placing it in its proper, haptic field.

Keywords: empathy; sympathy; tactility; vision; feeling-acts; pity

Chapter.  6986 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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