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Thread: How can we reason empathetically?

  1. #1 How can we reason empathetically? 
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    How can we reason empathetically?

    Empathy—the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it. I can be empathetic with my neighbor by using my imagination to “walk a mile in the shoes” of my neighbor.

    Most all of my formal education, I suspect your own also, has been didactic in nature. Didactic education is a method of “teaching by telling” and rote memorization.

    My engineering education and most all college level education is didactic. Most college education is designed to train an individual to perform a very specific task. The engineer, accountant, doctor, etc is told what is the logic of performance for a particular profession. After years of this indoctrination the graduate is prepared to solve the problems encountered in the particular chosen field.

    Such training is an efficient method for utilizing the scientific method to solve problems in a prescribed frame of reference. It is the type of education designed for a productive and efficient technology. Our technological accomplishments are proof of this. It is not, however, the type of education that prepares the individual for most of the problems encountered by society or self.

    Most important issues are not simply matters of fact, nor are they essentially matters of faith, taste, or preferences. They are matters that call for reasoned reflection and sound judgments. They are problems that can be considered from differing perspectives, from different frames of reference. Often a values issue requires at least two perspectives: is it good morality and is it good economics.

    How does one structure thinking to produce reasoned reflection and sound judgment in those matters that make up most of life’s multifaceted concerns?

    Governor Elect Arnold S. must develop a budget for the state of California very quickly. Let us imagine the sessions that he holds with his advisors leading up to the finished budget.

    Arnold holds his first meeting with six advisors each with a different expertise; each a strong advocate for a very important aspect of the welfare of the state.

    Arnold starts off with the first advisor on his left who strongly suggests budget A is the best for the state. Going clockwise around the table the next advisor recognizing important aspects of the suggestion of the first advisor presents budget B as the better budget. Budget B contains aspects of budget A but also carries strong suggestions in accord with the second advisor’s area of expertise.

    Each advisor in turn synthesizes the budget proposed by others, adding his articles of improvement. At the end of the first session there is a first draft of a budget. Each succeeding session synthesizes the previous results with new inputs until finally a budget of compromises is developed.

    What we see in this imagined budget planning effort is a dialogical interchange encompassed within a dialectical process to produce a result. The dialogue is each advisor placing their argument before the group. The dialectic is the synthesizing of a particular proposal with another input thus creating a new proposal, which in turn is subjected to a continuing repetition. Proposal A is synthesized with proposal B producing proposal C and C is then synthesized with D to produce E etc.

    The dialogical-dialectical process for each of us cannot contain all the participants that Arnold has for the state budget. When each Californian decides what the budget should be that individual must, in most cases, internalize the activities.

    One can, by reading the papers, discover various opinions that others might have regarding the matter. However, it is up to the individual, in the solitude of her intellect, to provide the various actors. The enlightened citizen must create the multifaceted argument internally. The individual must empathetically create the dialogue and the dialectic within her own mind.

    Imagine the number of “frames of reference” one would bring to bear on the issue of the comatose woman in Florida. If one becomes conscious of this issue and brings his/her intellect to bear on this issue s/he might be surprised by the possible ways to analyze this matter. One frame of reference we might not have thought about. That, of course, is the issue of our politicians injecting themselves, for their personal advantage, into the issue.

    Do you have an opinion regarding the statement in bold?


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    Forum Sophomore Pikkhaud's Avatar
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    ex: If there is a high school kid who is about to commit suecide.

    No one can understand these fellings, unless they have been in the same situation them self.

    To Reason empathetically you actually need to trap your self in the given situation and then you will find out what looks like the best solution, but then again since you are in the situation it wont be empathetically anymore.

    Now this solution that the kid reasond him self to might be suicide and it may look like the best option for him, but for every body else it looks like this kid is in a psychosis.

    The motive might be that this kid thinks he is better of in death or it is to punish his nemesis' we don't know.


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    I don't know what college you went to but we had to take a certain number of electives in the liberal arts with the purpose of getting a well rounded education. Furthermore, most engineering courses do not lend themselves well to the so-called dialogical method of teaching, but we did have design classes where teams of engineers would brainstorm a design problem, much like the governor's advisors in your example. Your straw man model of educational institutions is not very accurate in my opinion. Maybe you just went to a shitty college.

    Imagine the number of “frames of reference” one would bring to bear on the issue of the comatose woman in Florida. If one becomes conscious of this issue and brings his/her intellect to bear on this issue s/he might be surprised by the possible ways to analyze this matter. One frame of reference we might not have thought about. That, of course, is the issue of our politicians injecting themselves, for their personal advantage, into the issue.
    If you never heard this frame of reference, you just weren't listening to any of the talk shows.
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    It is not the responsibility of any education system to teach you to think, only to provide you with the skills to earn a living. Today we need to be able to read and write, 10,000 years ago we needed to be able to hunt and gather. Not only that, if everybody was taught to think by critical thinking and other skills everybody would be posting bollocks on the science forum rather than getting any work done.
    Eat Dolphin, save the Tuna!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat1981(England)
    if everybody was taught to think by critical thinking and other skills everybody would be posting bollocks on the science forum rather than getting any work done.
    In other words nothing would change?
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pikkhaud
    ex: If there is a high school kid who is about to commit suecide.

    No one can understand these fellings, unless they have been in the same situation them self.

    To Reason empathetically you actually need to trap your self in the given situation and then you will find out what looks like the best solution, but then again since you are in the situation it wont be empathetically anymore.

    Now this solution that the kid reasond him self to might be suicide and it may look like the best option for him, but for every body else it looks like this kid is in a psychosis.

    The motive might be that this kid thinks he is better of in death or it is to punish his nemesis' we don't know.
    How can I empathize with a teenager about to commit suicide? I would start by remembering my teenage years. I think I could recall experiences that caused me to be very down. I would try to bring back those turbulent periods in my life and then to add to that some knowledge about the particular individual about to commit suicide.

    I am not an actor but I did take some acting classes and the tool of a great actor is the ability to empathize. If you can empathesize you can make meaningful what the other person is feeling and then you can act accordingly. Knowledge, understanding, and the desire are essential ingredients of empathy.

    The life of that teenagr may rest on your ability to be empathetic.
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    Forum Sophomore Pikkhaud's Avatar
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    How can I empathize with a teenager about to commit suicide? I would start by remembering my teenage years. I think I could recall experiences that caused me to be very down. I would try to bring back those turbulent periods in my life and then to add to that some knowledge about the particular individual about to commit suicide.
    agreed

    I am not an actor but I did take some acting classes and the tool of a great actor is the ability to empathize. If you can empathesize you can make meaningful what the other person is feeling and then you can act accordingly. Knowledge, understanding, and the desire are essential ingredients of empathy.
    You can't act suecidal out of a memory being the prom king/queen

    to act in a tramatic way you must have had similar memories form your earlier years.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pikkhaud
    How can I empathize with a teenager about to commit suicide? I would start by remembering my teenage years. I think I could recall experiences that caused me to be very down. I would try to bring back those turbulent periods in my life and then to add to that some knowledge about the particular individual about to commit suicide.
    agreed

    I am not an actor but I did take some acting classes and the tool of a great actor is the ability to empathize. If you can empathesize you can make meaningful what the other person is feeling and then you can act accordingly. Knowledge, understanding, and the desire are essential ingredients of empathy.
    You can't act suecidal out of a memory being the prom king/queen

    to act in a tramatic way you must have had similar memories form your earlier years.

    I defiantly think it is the case that the more suffering each of us endures the more empathetic we become. That is a heavy price we pay for growing our ability to comprehend this very human ability of empathy. Some say that the artist’s ability is dependent upon the amount of suffering endured and I can very well see how that may be true.
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