• BitterClassroomixo
    3
    How does listening to the bad experiences others went through allow others to understand exactly how the person felt? I do believe that different people have different coping limits. Is it even possible to empathise or is it just an acknowledgement of bad experiences with a mix of sympathy?
  • unenlightened
    4.1k
    Not much can be done really and exactly; I feel your pain, but not really or exactly, but just slightly, vaguely, imaginatively. And that is called - really and exactly - "empathy". Stop making it something it isn't and then claiming it doesn't exist - that's silly.
  • BitterClassroomixo
    3
    Empathy is the experience of understanding another person's thoughts, feelings, and condition from his or her point of view, rather than from one's own. I am asking in terms of how accurate that is. Different people have different coping limits and life experiences, how can I imagine the level of pain someone is feeling accurately without even going through the same myself? and even if I have, the coping limits and interpretation differs for different people.
  • khaled
    1.2k
    How does listening to the bad experiences others went through allow others to understand exactly how the person felt?BitterClassroomixo

    Because we have mirror neurons that are designed to do this.

    I am asking in terms of how accurate that is.BitterClassroomixo

    Pretty accurate actually. I'm not an expert but from what I've read people's reactions to others pain intensify based on how they think that other suffered. For example: People cringe much more when they see someone cut their finger if they knew beforehand he/she had a phobia of blood. On the other hand seeing an ex soldier cut their finger and not even wince doesn't produce the same reaction

    how can I imagine the level of pain someone is feeling accurately without even going through the same myself?BitterClassroomixo

    You can't but your brain tries
  • unenlightened
    4.1k
    Empathy is the experience of understanding another person's thoughts, feelings, and condition from his or her point of view, rather than from one's own. I am asking in terms of how accurate that is.BitterClassroomixo

    And I am saying that is a silly question. There is no conceivable measure. You can only measure my empathy with you and understanding of your post using your understanding of my post and empathy with me. Nevertheless, there is empathy, and people feel it in themselves and in other people, empathetically. And sometimes folks will fake it. There has to be the real for there to be a fake.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    How does listening to the bad experiences others went through allow others to understand exactly how the person felt?BitterClassroomixo

    If you can't understand how that works, then you probably lack empathy.

    Note that the idea isn't that you literally feel just the way the other person does--you can't even know exactly how they feel (re the other minds problem). It's more that you're able to "put yourself in their shoes" and surmise what something would be like.
  • Judaka
    441

    I made a thread which was more or less about this topic a while back

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/5128/empathy-is-worthless-for-understanding-people/p1

    The title says it all, I basically argued that empathy gives us an unrealistically clear picture of what someone else is going through because we are oblivious to the variety of nature/nurture differences that exist. All we can do is imagine what it's like and just as with anything else, our imagination is not a reliable way to gain information. If it's something we've also experienced, either their experience is similar to yours or it isn't.

    Most people are not happy to admit their limitations when it comes to empathy. I think people confirm their biases, there is very little room for analysis when it comes to empathy. Usually, you'll just appreciate the sentiment of someone who is trying to be kind to you rather than picking apart their inaccuracies.

    I would say that we can empathise, just take care not to give your assumptions greater credibility than they deserve.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    How does listening to the bad experiences others went through allow others to understand exactly how the person felt? I do believe that different people have different coping limits. Is it even possible to empathise or is it just an acknowledgement of bad experiences with a mix of sympathy?BitterClassroomixo

    Of course people have different experiences, but we're all people. There is a lot of common ground. It's not exact, not necessarily accurate. And it's not necessarily about bad things and it's not the same as sympathy. Here's how it works for me - try to see people as they are without judgment; try to imaginatively put yourself in their shoes; Care how they feel; Try to feel compassion; try to be kind. Some people are good at this, some less so.

    That's how I experience it. How does it feel to you? As I said, it is nowhere near exact. I often find out I'm wrong, but a lot of time I'm right, or at least pretty right, or maybe sort of right. Are you a young person - it tends to get better with age and experience. It helps if you like people, like being around them.

    The most important thing is to try, care.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    Not much can be done really and exactly; I feel your pain, but not really or exactly, but just slightly, vaguely, imaginatively. And that is called - really and exactly - "empathy".unenlightened

    Yes.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    Empathy is the experience of understanding another person's thoughts, feelings, and condition from his or her point of view, rather than from one's own. I am asking in terms of how accurate that is.BitterClassroomixo

    Not really. It's not understanding exactly - it's the imaginative sharing of experience.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    You can't but your brain trieskhaled

    Yes. As I said, it's trying, caring that's most important.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    The title says it all, I basically argued that empathy gives us an unrealistically clear picture of what someone else is going through because we are oblivious to the variety of nature/nurture differences that exist.Judaka

    You are a tough cookie. That's not a bad thing. I think I understand the limitations of my abilities, and I do the best I can. It's something people do. It's a skill. It takes practice and some are better at it than others.
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