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  1. #91
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mingularity View Post
    That's not how I think of empathy. To me empathy is like theory of mind, where you put yourself in the shoes of the other person and experience what they are experiencing. Sympathy is something different, like empathizing with someone's plight and feeling bad for them.
    Of course you don't think of empathy this way - you are unschooled and so have to rely upon common misconceptions.

  2. #92
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    Of course you don't think of empathy this way - you are unschooled and so have to rely upon common misconceptions.

    I have discovered here that ignorance and vanity sleep in the same bed.
    Yes, common misconceptions shared by most English speakers, most dictionaries, wikipedia, and the article on psychopaths in question.

  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    Yes, common misconceptions shared by most English speakers, most dictionaries, wikipedia, and the article in question.
    What chutzpah to rely on common misconceptions. It reminds me of, "The Know Nothing Party" (1845-1860) in the USA, perversely proud of their ignorance.

  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    What chutzpah to rely on common misconceptions. It reminds me of, "The Know Nothing Party" (1845-1860) in the USA, perversely proud of their ignorance.
    There are two kinds of dictionaries, prescriptive like m-w.com, and descriptive like oed.com. Prescriptive dictionaries tell you the definition of something, whereas descriptive dictionaries document how words are actually used over time. I checked both, and in both the definition of empathy was very much like mine, and very much unlike yours. It's definitely OK for you to redefine a word so that others know what you mean when you say it, but it doesn't really make any sense for you to expect anyone else to adopt your definition. If your definition comes to be accepted by society, it will eventually show up in oed.com. In the meantime, you'll have to explicitly redefine it every time you use your version.

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by mingularity View Post
    There are two kinds of dictionaries, prescriptive like m-w.com, and descriptive like oed.com. Prescriptive dictionaries tell you the definition of something, whereas descriptive dictionaries document how words are actually used over time. I checked both, and in both the definition of empathy was very much like mine, and very much unlike yours. It's definitely OK for you to redefine a word so that others know what you mean when you say it, but it doesn't really make any sense for you to expect anyone else to adopt your definition. If your definition comes to be accepted by society, it will eventually show up in oed.com. In the meantime, you'll have to explicitly redefine it every time you use your version.
    I have checked the dictionaries too and find the distinction I have shown here is correct.

  6. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    Empathy, as distinct from sympathy, means to know what another is feeling without feeling it oneself.
    Quote Originally Posted by oxforddictionaries.com
    Empathy - the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
    Quote Originally Posted by m-w.com
    Empathy - the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this
    Mine bolded. These could hardly be more different than knowing what another is feeling without feeling it oneself. Furthermore you have contradicted yourself by claiming that on the one hand the dictionaries contain common misconceptions, while on the other claiming that the dictionaries agree with you.

    I probably don't have more time for this conversation, especially since I don't know your type and so I'm not getting much out of the interaction.

  7. #97
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    Because if psychopaths aren’t capable of guilt or remorse, then why would they ‘switch on’ empathy for any other reason than personal gain?

    I just looked up and read about the study. It looks like they can turn it on simply by being asked to turn it on. The bizarre disconnect though is that there’s no conscience tying them to the empathy when that empathy doesn’t feel good. Most people can’t just turn it off. I can imagine instances where empathy shuts off because more information becomes available and changes the circumstances- but most people can’t simply shut empathy off at will. (…Right?)

    What I read suggested they might be able to use these findings to figure out how to help psychopaths from causing harm. It’ll be interesting to see if they can actually do that.

    I get how what they’re seeing in the results is being called ‘empathy’, per se- but it’s just weird because it isn’t attached to a conscience. It may light up the same parts of the brain, but I'm not sure I'm willing to call it empathy in the most commonly used sense of the word.
    We shut off empathy all the time. War, conflict, a fight with a romantic partner, political rivalries. It's all the same as far as I'm concerned, just a matter of degree and boundary.

  8. #98
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Arendee View Post
    No. Empathy is earned. Using myself and many INTJ's I know as examples, you're not going to see us give two shits about things we believe aren't worth the effort. Empathy isn't something thinkers can just toss around everywhere, that shit is draining. We have to be selective about it.

    If you want my empathy, you play by my rules when you enter my life. Once you manage to put your ego beneath mine, I suddenly become the most humble and caring person you'll ever meet.

    I spent 5 years in the military with people telling me I should "care more." I still have no idea what they were talking about, and when I tried to "care" about things I didn't actually care about, I became neurotic and suicidal. One day I stopped trying, and all my problems went away and I suddenly started making more friends.
    Really? No one in the military ever told me to care, but plenty of people in other settings seem to expect it. I sense validity in your comments here, though their expression is unfamiliar. Your first paragraph suggests a deliberateness about our use of empathy that I don't see. Yes, there are thresholds that trigger it, at least in me, as well as lines that, once crossed, can cause me instantly to lose it. But I either have it or I don't; it is not a deliberate, conscious choice. I can choose cognitive empathy - to go though the rational process that allows me to conclude what someone is probably feeling, but that is not the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marmotini View Post
    People don't learn empathy they're reminded.

    People who don't have it as children are not redeemable and they are pretending to manipulate you. That's why I think the death penalty should exist for sociopaths.
    Do you think there are some children who just don't have empathy, and if so, why are they that way?

    Quote Originally Posted by Urarienev View Post
    empathy: the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

    I don't identify with others easily. period.

    The things others care about, compared to what I care about are mostly not the same.

    And I definately don't indentify with others' feelings, thoughts, or attitudes.

    I have to make a habit of saying to myself:

    "Why can't I stand this person?"

    From there I have to rationalize to myself...that we all are the same, and we are all just doing our best.

    The thought of me even trying to be in someone else's shoes (even just to identify with them or thier experience) is a very difficult thing. I feel like I'll get overwhelmed and never get out of that state. So I avoid it.(E7 ness)

    When someone's dog dies, I am not the person to go to.

    And I'm the biggest dog lover I know.

    The only thing that comes to mind when bad stuff happens to people is "I wouldn't want this to happen to me"
    Same for me, mostly, except that I often find small things to identify with in even the most unlikely people, when I am not expecting it. I suppose it is just another reminder that we are more similar underneath than we often think. When bad things happen to people, my first thought is usually, "what can I do about it"? If the answer is nothing, really, I easily move on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    Ever since I have been here almost everyone has not grasped the distinction between empathy and sympathy.

    This is understandable as common usage confuses the two.

    And I wouldn't bother to try to correct this confusion if empathy wasn't so uniquely helpful.

    But in a way, it is all of a piece, as astrology, mbti and sympathy come naturally and intuitively, while science, mathematics and empathy don't come naturally and are counter-intuitive.

    This means that astrology, mbti and sympathy are accessible to the unschooled while science, mathematics and empathy are not accessible to the unschooled.

    But who among us is prepared to admit we are unschooled, rather we prefer to sympathise with one another over astrology and mbti.
    I thought you disliked arguing for the sake of arguing. Should I detect some hypocrisy here?
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  9. #99
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    It is plain that popular culture has elided the words 'empathy' and 'sympathy' so there is not much difference between them.

    However in English the meaning and spelling of words depends on their history.

    Unfortunately Noah Webster, the American revolutionary, tried to remove history from English words by changing their spelling.

    Noah followed the same revolutionary impulse of Pol Pot in Cambodia in starting from year zero, only Noah wanted revolutionary Engish to start from year zero.

    Noah was spectaculary successful in revolutionary USA in influencing the English curriculum of all schools in the USA.

    And so Noah Webster created American English all on his own.

    And in discounting history in English, Noah created an American habit of mind where history itself is discounted, and so Americans look to the future.

    And this explains the lack of interest in the history of the words 'empathy' and 'sympathy'.

    So in popular culture we have lost the meaning of the word 'empathy', which is a shame for empathy is uniquely helpful.

  10. #100
    Senior Member alcea rosea's Avatar
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    I think people can learn and "internalize" empathy to some extend. I think narsistic and psychopaths/sociopaths can learn about empathic behavior but they don't "internalize" it.

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