In this essay I am going to be concerned with the topic of both empathizing with and responding with empathy to. My purpose is to give a functional analysis of these concepts.
When people respond with empathy to feelings that they know never happened, we can explain this type of empathic reaction by distinguishing two types of empathy: witnessed empathy and fictional empathy. Witnessed empathy occurs when the scene is witnessed, not the empathy. Thus, we are empathizing with the people in the image. Fictional empathy requires that we respond with empathy to the people in the scene.
As we know, there are two dimensions of empathy: cognitive and affective. With both witnessed and fictional empathy, the affective dimension is the same; the difference between the two types will be concerned with the cognitive dimension. We will see that much of the cognitive dimension is the same with both types of empathy. Thus, the difference will be a certain aspect of the cognitive dimension. Therefore, one of the principal goals in this analysis is to establish the specific aspect of cognitive dimension that differentiates of fictional empathy from witnessed empathy.
Witnessed empathy is
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