Ινστιτούτο Γνωσιακής Αναλυτικής Ψυχοθεραπείας

Affective Synthesis of the Other Through the Self: A new look at empathy

Έτος Δημοσίευσης
2004
Συγγραφέας/είς
Ben Zabinski and Jaan Valsiner
Είδος Δημοσίευσης
Paper

Paper presented at the 3rd International Conference on Dialogical Self Warsaw, Poland, August, 28, 2004

Empathy (sembling in the terminology of James Mark Baldwin; Einfühlung in that of Theodore Lipps; hineinversetzen in that of Edith Stein) has been overlooked in psychology by both of its behaviorist and cognitivist traditions. Although there exists empirical literature on the topic, no theoretical breakthroughs have been notable since the 1920s. We propose a new model of empathy making use of the dialogical nature of the self. The model focuses on the process of attending to the image of the other within one’s own self (basic dialogicality). The Agentive Self simulates the position of the Other through affective transposition into the Other within the Self that results the “feeling into” the Other, and retrospective perspective on the Agentive Self. This dialogical relation leads to affective synthesis that transcends the limits of the Self and the Other by creating a generalized feeling field. This perspective borrows from the early contributions by George Herbert Mead (from 1910s) and the Dialogical Self of Hubert Hermans, bringing these traditions together in a developmental framework. The paper entails an analysis of the empathic intrasubjective synthesis of the Self and the Other, and an analysis of both Occidental and Oriental notions of empathy and ingroup/outgroup relations. It is claimed that the human psychological process of feeling-into -others is the universal process for human living-- meaning-making, and for building both intra-subjective and inter-subjective societies of mind.

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