Empathy in the clinic (and elsewhere too): Prof Matthew Ratcliffe

Philosophy of medicine seminar
Wednesday 30/4, 4.30-6
G.16, Cotham House, Bristol University

This paper challenges the view that empathy is principally a matter of mental simulation, whereby one understands someone else’s experience by generating a similar first-person experience. I begin by considering some descriptions of clinical empathy and argue that empathy, in this context, should be construed as a distinctive kind of attitude towards the other person, which serves as the starting point for an exploratory process. It is more a matter of appreciating interpersonal differences than of generating similarities, and simulation is not necessary for empathy. I go on to suggest that my account applies to empathy more generally.

For more information please email the seminar series convenor, Dr Havi Carel.


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