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Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives Hardcover – December 17, 2011

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Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives + The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (December 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199539952
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199539956
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,613,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A must have read for any researcher on empathy not only for researchers on empathy in philosophy."--Eva-Maria Engelen, British Journal of Aesthetics

"There is much here for deep reflection and the authors are to be commended highly for their enterprise in producing such an enormous, stimulating book on such a difficult and wide-ranging, inter-personal component of human behaviour."--Michael N. Marsh, ESSSAT News & Reviews

About the Author

Amy Coplan is Associate Professor of Philosophy at California State University, Fullerton. Her primary research interests are in philosophy of emotion, aesthetics (especially philosophy of film), feminist philosophy, and ancient Greek philosophy. She has published articles on the nature and importance of emotion and on various forms of emotional engagement with film, including empathy, sympathy, and emotional contagion. She is currently editing a collection on the film Blade Runner for the Routledge series Philosophers on Film.

Peter Goldie was the Samuel Hall Chair in Philosophy at the University of Manchester. His main philosophical interests included the philosophy of mind, ethics, and aesthetics, and particularly questions concerning value and how the mind engages with value. His books include The Emotions: A Philosophical Exploration (OUP, 2000), and On Personality (Routledge, 2004), and the co-authored Who's Afraid of Conceptual Art? (Routledge, 2010). He edited Understanding Emotions: Mind and Morals (Ashgate, 2002), and The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Emotion (OUP, 2010), and co-edited Philosophy and Conceptual Art (OUP, 2007).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Empathy is a very complex subject and there has been a lot of technical research done to contribute to our understanding of the underlying physiological mechanisms. The first section of this book describes the historical background of philosophical thought on the subject of empathy, as well as some of the new information revealed through recent experimental research.

If you are primarily interested in the scientific research done on the subject of empathy I would recommend a slightly older paperback book: "The Social Neuroscience of Empathy" by Decety and Ickes, which is much cheaper and more comprehensive in terms of the science.

However, this book covers other ground as well: the relation between empathy and aesthetics and morality, which are not covered in the older paperback I recommended. The chapters in this book vary in readability from dry to painless to excellent, but overall the text is easily comprehensible if not a genuine pleasure to read. Minor complaints: there are a lot of typo errors, and while reading the center pages detached from the binding. I don't expect those imperfections in such an expensive book.

Both books are valuable for their bibliographies. Empathy is an important subject with a large and growing literature. If you have the interest and can afford it, by all means buy and read both books. If you are particularly interested in adult Empathy for Children (or the lack thereof), neither of the books offer much information on that difficult question. Search those keywords on the web for my own lengthy blog posts on that topic.

- Frank Adamo, author of the photo-documentary "Girl Becomes Woman."
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