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Title: The epistemic and moral value of empathy
Author: Sofronieva, Diana
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 3411
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2018
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In this thesis I present and defend an account of empathy and then use this account to evaluate the epistemic and moral worth of empathy. I understand empathy as the activity of recreating in one's imagination another's experience, a recreation which does not necessarily imply an isomorphism between the states of empathiser and target. I understand empathy as a tool which one can become skilled at using. I then go on to argue that empathy so construed has epistemic value. I argue that recreating in one's imagination certain aspects of another's experience allows one to learn about other, unknown, aspects of the other's experience. Then I argue that empathy also has epistemic value for learning about evaluative features of objects; it is like testimony without the middle man. I am also concerned with the moral value of empathy. I argue that empathy is a morally neutral tool that can be used to moral advantage. I present and assess the existent criticisms of empathy's moral worth, as well as put forward a criticism of my own. Apart from discussing criticisms, I also make a positive case by arguing that empathy has moral value in three ways: it allows us to make better informed decisions, it increases our motivation to bring about the good to others, and it brings about a valuable kind of togetherness.
Supervisor: Dow, Jamie ; Meskin, Aaron Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available