Karsten Stueber

Karsten R. Stueber is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross. He is author of Donald Davidsons Theorie sprachlichen Verstehens and coeditor of three anthologies: Philosophie der Skepsis, Empathy and Agency, and Debating Dispositions.

  • Rediscovering Empathy

    Rediscovering Empathy

    Agency, Folk Psychology, and the Human Sciences

    Karsten Stueber

    Empathy as epistemically central for our folk psychological understanding of other minds; a rehabilitation of the empathy thesis in light of contemporary philosophy of mind.

    In this timely and wide-ranging study, Karsten Stueber argues that empathy is epistemically central for our folk-psychological understanding of other agents—that it is something we cannot do without in order to gain understanding of other minds. Setting his argument in the context of contemporary philosophy of mind and the interdisciplinary debate about the nature of our mindreading abilities, Stueber counters objections raised by some in the philosophy of social science and argues that it is time to rehabilitate the empathy thesis. Empathy, regarded at the beginning of the twentieth century as the fundamental method of gaining knowledge of other minds, has suffered a century of philosophical neglect. Stueber addresses the plausible philosophical misgivings about empathy that have been responsible for its failure to gain widespread philosophical acceptance. Crucial in this context is his defense of the assumption, very much contested in contemporary philosophy of mind, that the notion of rational agency is at the core of folk psychology. Stueber then discusses the contemporary debate between simulation theorists—who defend various forms of the empathy thesis—and theory theorists. In distinguishing between basic and reenactive empathy, he provides a new interpretive framework for the investigation into our mindreading capacities. Finally, he considers epistemic objections to empathy raised by the philosophy of social science that have been insufficiently discussed in contemporary debates. Empathy theorists, Stueber writes, should be prepared to admit that, although empathy can be regarded as the central default mode for understanding other agents, there are certain limitations in its ability to make sense of other agents; and there are supplemental theoretical strategies available to overcome these limitations.

    • Hardcover $38.00 £32.00
    • Paperback $25.00 £20.00

Contributor

  • Joint Attention

    Joint Attention

    New Developments in Psychology, Philosophy of Mind, and Social Neuroscience

    Axel Seemann

    Interdisciplinary perspectives on definitional concerns, underlying mechanisms, and the functional significance of joint attention.

    Academic interest in the phenomenon of joint attention—the capacity to attend to an object together with another creature—has increased rapidly over the past two decades. Yet it isn't easy to spell out in detail what joint attention is, how it ought to be characterized, and what exactly its significance consists in. The writers for this volume address these and related questions by drawing on a variety of disciplines, including developmental and comparative psychology, philosophy of mind, and social neuroscience. The volume organizes their contributions along three main themes: definitional concerns, such as the question of whether or not joint attention should be understood as an irreducibly basic state of mind; processes and mechanisms obtaining on both the neural and behavioral levels; and the functional significance of joint attention, in particular the role it plays in comprehending spatial perspectives and understanding other minds. The collected papers present new work by leading researchers on one of the key issues in social cognition. They demonstrate that an adequate theory of joint attention is indispensable for a comprehensive account of mind.

    • Hardcover $19.75 £15.99