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Attention, Not Self$
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Jonardon Ganeri

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198757405

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198757405.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 04 August 2021

Empathetic Attention

Empathetic Attention

(p.269) 13 Empathetic Attention
Attention, Not Self

Jonardon Ganeri

Oxford University Press

Attention can be placed on others. Now it is you on whom one’s attention is placed, and what one accesses in focusing on you are your mental states. One does not experience them directly; rather, your movements provide focal attention with a causal channel: they ‘intimate’ your thoughts to one. Empathy is analogous to listening to another, itself a kind of attention. So empathy, one’s awareness of another in their otherness, is an attentional state. While phenomenologists have claimed that empathy, the ability to apprehend the beliefs and emotions of others, is a perceptual skill, this chapter will argue instead that empathy is a distinct kind of attention, attention through embodied comportment to the feelings, commitments, and wishes of others.

Keywords:   attention, Buddhist philosophy, empathy, social cognition, imagination, second-person perspective

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