Empathy and analogy

Dialogue 36 (4):705-720 (1997)
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Abstract

We contend that empathy is best viewed as a kind of analogical thinking of the sort described in the multiconstraint theory of analogy proposed by Keith Holyoak and Paul Thagard (1995). Our account of empathy reveals the Theory-theory/Simulation theory debate to be based on a false assumption and formulated in terms too simple to capture the nature of mental state ascription. Empathy is always simulation, but may simultaneously include theory-application. By properly specifying the analogical processes of empathy and their constraints, we are able to show how the amount of theory needed to empathize is determined.

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