Emotion and feeling have only in the last decade become analytic concepts in the humanities, reflected in what some have called an “affective turn” in the academy at large. The study of emotion has also found a place in science studies and the history and philosophy of science, accompanied by the recognition that even the history of objectivity depends in a dialectical fashion on a history of subjectivity (Daston and Galison 2010, esp. chap. 4). This topical issue is a contribution to this larger trend across the humanities and the history of science, and yet is circumscribed by attention to a particular kind of emotion or condition for feeling: one centered not in an individual body, but in the interstices between bodies and things, between selves and others – what we call empathy.
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