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The Changing Place of Empathy in Welfare Economics

The Changing Place of Empathy in Welfare Economics History of Political Economy 33:3 (2001) two notions when he contrasts “sympathetic identification,” the process whereby “one individual so successfully imagines himself into the shoes of another that he no longer fully distinguishes his interests from the person with whom he identifies” (55), and “empathetic identification,” which “stops short of the point where we supposedly cease to separate our interests from those with whom we identify” (56). It is not so much two modes of identification that Binmore actually describes as two distinct uses of empathy. In an earlier paper (Fontaine 1997) I have argued that a distinction should be made between two forms of empathy: (1) the imagined change of objective circumstances with another—partial empathetic identification; and (2) the imagined change of objective circumstances and subjective features with another—complete empathetic identification. Subsequently, this distinction was shown to shed light on the way economists regarded the role of identification in one’s reading of another’s intentions and acts in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Since the twentieth century, however, economists have tended to leave aside the use of empathy for gathering information about another’s intentions and acts, concentrating instead on its role as a mere instrument of interpersonal comparisons http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Political Economy Duke University Press

The Changing Place of Empathy in Welfare Economics

History of Political Economy , Volume 33 (3) – Sep 1, 2001

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2001 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0018-2702
eISSN
1527-1919
DOI
10.1215/00182702-33-3-387
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

History of Political Economy 33:3 (2001) two notions when he contrasts “sympathetic identification,” the process whereby “one individual so successfully imagines himself into the shoes of another that he no longer fully distinguishes his interests from the person with whom he identifies” (55), and “empathetic identification,” which “stops short of the point where we supposedly cease to separate our interests from those with whom we identify” (56). It is not so much two modes of identification that Binmore actually describes as two distinct uses of empathy. In an earlier paper (Fontaine 1997) I have argued that a distinction should be made between two forms of empathy: (1) the imagined change of objective circumstances with another—partial empathetic identification; and (2) the imagined change of objective circumstances and subjective features with another—complete empathetic identification. Subsequently, this distinction was shown to shed light on the way economists regarded the role of identification in one’s reading of another’s intentions and acts in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Since the twentieth century, however, economists have tended to leave aside the use of empathy for gathering information about another’s intentions and acts, concentrating instead on its role as a mere instrument of interpersonal comparisons

Journal

History of Political EconomyDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2001

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