Empathizing as Simulating

Susan L. Feagin

in Empathy

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199539956
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191730931 | DOI:
Empathizing as Simulating

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The main objective of this paper is to explain a simulation account of what it is to empathize with characters in literary works of art; in particular, that simulating the mental processes of a character is a necessary condition of empathizing with them, and that a simulation of a process must be structurally similar, in relevant respects, to the process simulated. Section I contrasts a structural similarity account with functionalist accounts of simulating a process. Section II rehearses problems with functional and related accounts. Section III explains how desires affect the structure of a mental process and how they help account for the affective quality of experience when empathizing with a character.

Keywords: simulation; empathy; desires; affect; appreciation; literature characters

Chapter.  6987 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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