Emergence of Empathy: Encountering The Other Through Fiction

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Manage episode 246491117 series 2570216
By The Helix Center. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Like sympathy, empathy derives from the Greek root pathos meaning “to endure or to undergo.” It was coined in 1909 by a psychologist at Cornell University, Edward Bradford Titchner, who suggested the term as a translation of the German Einfühlung. According to Titchner, this emotional impulse to “feel into” something or someone is a strategy we employ to find in external examples solutions for our mental conflicts. Empathy, Titchner suggests, heals the self. Our readings of fiction, the ones that form our imaginary cartographies, define almost every one of our intimate experiences. Love, death, friendship, loss, gratitude, bewilderment, anguish and fear: all these and our own changing identities can be learned from conduct of the imaginary characters we meet in the books we love.

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