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Schmidt, Johannes

April 28, 2020

Eva Piirimäe, Liina Lukas, and Johannes Schmidt (eds.). Herder on Empathy and Sympathy. Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History, Volume: 311 (2020).

The English-German collection  Herder on Empathy and SympathyEinfühlung und Sympathie im Denken Herders considers the meaning and role of the concepts of empathy and sympathy in Herder’s thought. Herder invokes sympathy in a number of disciplinary domains ranging from metaphysics, biology, anthropology, epistemology, psychology, morality, politics, history, aesthetics to homiletics. While Herder is shown as belonging to a long line of thinkers who view sympathy as a metaphysical principle contributing to the interconnectedness of all parts of nature, he also offers new insights about intra-/inter-species sympathetic communication and distinctively human varieties of sympathy for which he reserves the term “sich einfühlen”. Acknowledging the limits of the natural capacity for “sich einfühlen”, Herder nonetheless calls for its reflective cultivation in various domains.

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