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Forms of Fellow Feeling
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Book description

What is the basis of our capacity to act morally? This is a question that has been discussed for millennia, with philosophical debate typically distinguishing two sources of morality: reason and sentiment. This collection aims to shed light on whether the human capacity to feel for others really is central for morality and, if so, in what way. To tackle these questions, the authors discuss how fellow feeling is to be understood: its structure, content and empirical conditions. Also discussed are the exact roles that relevant psychological features - specifically: empathy, sympathy and concern - may play within morality. The collection is unique in bringing together the key participants in the various discussions of the relation of fellow feeling to moral norms, moral concepts and moral agency. By integrating conceptually sophisticated and empirically informed perspectives, Forms of Fellow Feeling will appeal to readers from philosophy, psychology, sociology and cultural studies.


'The essays in this impressive collection challenge some of the received wisdom about empathy in philosophy and psychology. Their cumulative effect is to introduce much needed nuance into the occasionally heated discussion about the importance of fellow feeling for morality and prosocial behaviour.'

Antti Kauppinen - University of Helsinki

'This rich volume addresses central questions in concerns with morality: what are the roles of emotions in moral norms, moral judgments, and prosocial behaviors? Forms of Fellow Feeling brings together the disciplines of philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, all disciplines necessary to understandings of relations between emotions and morality. The volume is unique in its focused discussions of the complex conceptual and empirical questions around empathy, sympathy and morality.'

Elliot Turiel - University of California, Berkeley

'The topic of empathy has recently been a 'hot' one. This book expands our understanding of it in welcome ways. A distinguished international panel of philosophers and psychologists, including experts in legal thought and social psychology, contribute to build a rich picture of the current state of our understanding. They explore both the variety of different forms of 'fellow-feeling' - from the purely cognitive to the instinctively emotional - and debate their complex role in moral and political life.'

Ronald de Sousa - University of Toronto

'Here is one of the most comprehensive reviews of what we know about human empathy and sympathy offered by the greatest experts in the field. Although empathy is a quintessentially mammalian capacity, we humans have taken it further than any other species. This is why Forms of Fellow Feeling also pays attention to the cognition involved and the moral implications. Empathy is at the core of being human, and we have made astonishing advances in our understanding.'

Frans de Waal - author of The Age of Empathy

'This anthology of academic essays on the topic of empathy and morality, from a multi-disciplinary perspective, will be a valuable addition to the field.'

Simon Baron-Cohen - University of Cambridge

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