Contributions to the phenomenology of empathy Edmund Husserl, Edith Stein and Emmanuel Levinas

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Description: This dissertation evaluates the contributions of Edmund Husserl, Edith Stein, and Emmanuel Levinas to a phenomenological description of empathy. Einfühlung was introduced by Husserl in terms of analogical apperception ( Cartesian Meditations ) and intersubjective transcendental constitution ( Ideas II ). Max Scheler described empathy in contrasting terms, noting the primary givenness of the emotions over cognition, which Husserl had stressed. In 1916, Edith Stein wrote On the Problem of Empathy , in which she retained Husserl's analogical model but modified it with Scheler's notion of the person as ordor amoris . Co-emphasizing its ethical and epistemological importance, Stein's "reciprocal model" describes the constitution of the person in emotional experiences. She modified Husserl's model of transcendental monadology with Scheler's account that others are given prior to individuation. Edith Stein served as Husserl's assistant from 1916-1918 and edited his notes on intersubjectivity and social constitution theory. Her description of the relation between individual and community is developed in Philosophy of Psychology and the Humanities , published in Husserl's 1922 Jahrbuch . Martin Heidegger rejected Husserl's description of empathy in Being and Time . Arguing that the "They" [ das Man ] is always already given in fallen Dasein's everydayness, Heidegger laid the groundwork for a more radical exposition of the Other than Husserl's cognitive and analogical analysis would allow, one that reduced empathy to a derivative or founded status. Emmanuel Levinas argues that Husserl's "arrow of intentionality" is not simply founded but in need of reversal. Whether the Other is constituted through analogical apperception (Husserl) or co-constituted in an emotive relationship (Stein), the result manifests an economy of sameness in terms of the ego-origin of constitution. As a foreign signification, the face speaks and commands me to respond. The infinite alterity of the wholly Other is the origin of ethics. Jacques Derrida notes that only a transcendental symmetry in the order of knowledge makes possible ethical asymmetry. Derrida's notion of "empathic antipathy" is similar to Edith Stein's notion of "solidarity," in that the genuinely moral significance of empathy lies in its other-directedness. The analogical imagination, of extreme importance to St. Thomas Aquinas, is thus vindicated by the phenomenology of empathy.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work