In Philip J. Ivanhoe, Owen Flanagan, Victoria S. Harrison, Hagop Sarkissian & Eric Schwitzgebel (eds.), The Oneness Hypothesis: Beyond the Boundary of Self. New York, USA: Columbia University Press. pp. 371-387 (2018)

Justin Tiwald
San Francisco State University
This essay is about the relations between two different types of empathy and two different conceptions of oneness. Roughly, the first type of empathy is what is sometimes called “other-focused” or “imagine-other” empathy, in which one reconstructs the thoughts and feelings that someone else has or would have. The second type, “self- focused” or “imagine-self” empathy, is the sort of emotional attitude someone adopts when she imagines how she would think or feel were she in the other person’s place. Some philosophers and psychologists have taken note of this distinction, but none has linked them with one of the more important reemerging religious and philosophical issues of the day, which has to do with the ethical significance of seeing oneself as part of a larger whole, or its proper role in moral motivation and other-directed moral concern. There are some long-overlooked materials in Neo-Confucian philosophy that attend closely to these very linkages, drawing out the morally salient differences between self- and other-focused empathy in light of their implications for the virtue of benevolence. This chapter unearths some of the most important ideas and arguments in this debate, fills in some gaps in the arguments, and draw out their moral implications.
Keywords Empathy  Oneness  Zhu Xi  Dai Zhen
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