How Do We Understand Others? Empathy and Theory-Theory of Mind as Two Different, but Cooperative, Mechanisms for Sensibility

Phenomenology and Mind. 2016;(4) DOI 10.13128/Phe_Mi-19593


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Phenomenology and Mind

ISSN: 2280-7853 (Print); 2239-4028 (Online)

Publisher: Firenze University Press

Society/Institution: Research Centres of San Raffaele University

LCC Subject Category: Philosophy. Psychology. Religion: Aesthetics | Philosophy. Psychology. Religion: Ethics

Country of publisher: Italy

Language of fulltext: French, English, Italian

Full-text formats available: PDF



Sarah Songhorian


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 25 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

The aim of this paper is to understand whether Theory-Theory of Mind (TToM) can be considered the one and only source of our understanding of others or not. I support the idea that TToM cannot have such a role and that it can be played only by basic empathy - a sui generis perception. In this paper, I challenge TToM as basic, I then consider the notion of “empathy” and I provide a very narrow definition of low-level empathy, that I compare to Scheler’s account on affective phenomena.