The Mandate of Empathy

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8 Scopus citations


Confucian thinkers seem to have had something like our present concept of empathy long before that notion was self-consciously available in the West. Wang Yang-Ming's talk of forming one body with others and similar ideas in the writings of Cheng Hao and, much earlier, of Mengzi make it clear that the Confucian traditions not only had the idea of empathy but saw its essential relation to phenomena like compassion, benevolence, and sympathy that are constitutive of the altruistic side of morality. Nowadays, there is increasing interest among Western psychologists and philosophers in the phenomenon of empathy, and it would be lovely and welcome if, having originated these ideas, Chinese philosophers would now take up and help develop what has recently been said and done about empathy, and its relation to altruism, in the West.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-307
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010


  • Benevolence
  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Identification
  • Sympathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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