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Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 43 (2012) 151184

Edith Stein and the Contemporary Psychological Study of Empathy

Rita W. Meneses
Catolica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics, Universidade Catlica Portuguesa, Lisbon, Portugal

Michael Larkin
School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

Abstract Illuminated by the writings of Edith Stein (1917/1989), this paper presents a model of empathy as a very particular intersubjective understanding. This is commonly a view absent from psychology literature. For Stein, empathy is the experience of experientially and directly knowing another persons experience, as it unfolds in the present, together with the awareness of the otherness of that experience. It can be conceptually distinguished, in terms of process and experience, from current models that propose that empathic understandings are intellectual experiences (e.g., explicit simulation theories, perspective-taking) or sympathetic experiences (e.g., implicit simulation theories, contagion-related theories). As such, she provides an additional or alternative aspect to understanding other peoples experiences. Our paper provides a summary of Steins key analytic claims about three key facets of empathy (directly perceiving, experientially projecting, and interpretatively mentalizing). Her views are discussed in the light of debates relevant for contemporary psychology and social cognition. Keywords empathy, social understandings, sympathy, intersubjectivity

Empathy entered everyday discourse surprisingly recently. The German philosopher Theodor Lipps was influential in this. In 1903, Lipps1 adopted
1)This is a common contemporary historical view, although Duan and Hill (1994, p. 261) were able to track down the use of Einfhlung to Robert Vischer (1873), in the aesthetic field,
Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2012 DOI: 10.1163/15691624-12341234

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the German term Einfhlung, derived from the Greek empatheia (from emin and pathos feeling), in his thesis on aesthetic experiences. This concept was translated by Titchener into English as empathy. It was used to describe the process of humanizing objects, of reading or feeling ourselves into them (Titchener, 1924, p. 417, cf. Duan & Hill, 1996, p. 261). At the core of this concept is the idea of going into a strong feeling-connection with another (Barrett-Lennard, 1981, p. 91). Soon after this, Max Schelers (1913/1979) work on sympathy appeared, (Sympathie/mitgefhl ), followed by Edith Steins thesis on empathy (1917/1989). Lipps, Scheler and Stein proposed theoretically distinct views of these interpersonal phenomena (sympathy and empathy), which, over time, have been confused with one another. Among Scheler, Lipps and Stein, there is, however, an agreement that empathy is a way of knowing or understanding others: there are three spheres of knowledge. I know about things, about myself, and about others....The source of the third type of knowledge is empathy (Barrett-Lennard, 1981, p. 91, cf. Allport, 1937, p. 351). This was the core consensual meaning of empathy in philosophy in the beginning of the twentieth century.

Aims Presently, the stance that empathy is a way of knowing or understanding others sometimes appears to be a non-consensual position, although it is the one adopted in this paper. For example, in psychology, empathy can be regarded as a responsive sympathetic feeling, also named empathic concern (i.e., an other-oriented emotional response elicited by and congruent with the perceived welfare of someone else , Batson, 2009, p. 8). Among those who have psychologically investigated interpersonal understandings, some have proposed that these come about via an explicit
which would be the predecessor of empathy, to mean humans spontaneous projection of real psychic feeling into the people and things they perceive. On the other hand, Zepf and Hartmann (2008, p. 56) remarked that the word empathy was first used by Lotze, in 1858, to describe how we can deploy our imagination to place ourselves in, and participate in the experience of nature, as well as to Herder, in 1774, to describe how one feels oneself into everything. Therefore, although there are alternative historical versions, in these early beginnings, empathy was a term that described an act that connected a subject to an object (person or other) by means of which some sort of knowing of that object occurred.

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simulation process, that is, a higher-order intellectual process of adopting someone elses perspective (intellectual understandings); and some more suggested that social understandings are the result of an implicit simulation process that involves ones personal emotional responses to other peoples experiences (sympathetic understandings). In this paper, we suggest that these two models capture two distinctive routes to understanding other peoples experiences; and that there is an additional form of understanding (intuitive understandings). It has also been proposed as an alternative route in phenomenology (e.g., Gallagher, 2007). Although this particular form of understanding appears to underlie some psychotherapy approaches (e.g., Rogers, 1957/2007), psychological models do not usually address this type of understanding as a phenomenon on its own right (e.g., Kerem, Fishman & Josselson, 2001). The experience of an intuitive understanding was thoroughly described by Edith Stein. Her thesis, On the problem of empathy (1917/1989; Zum Problem der Einfhlung), was conducted under the supervision of Edmund Husserl. It is a rare, canonical example of orthodox, Husserlian, phenomenological inquiry. In this work, Stein provides one of the most systematic, complete, and thorough applications of Husserls methodological approach to experience. It is also a text which offfers a remarkably contemporary, theoretically coherent, and clear delineation of the psychological phenomenon of empathy, as it appears in consciousness. Steins clarity about the limits and nature of empathy was achieved by means of the phenomenological method. This required her to establish the essential features of empathy, and to rule out of her account those simulacra of empathy which, without close examination, might be mistaken for empathy itself. Given that the field of empathy studies is in some conceptual disarray (e.g. see Batson, 2009), and that the term itself has a relatively recent history, Steins conceptual clarity is worthy of re-discovery and offfers a sound basis for further psychological research. Unfortunately, the conceptual clarity of her thinking is not mirrored by the accessibility of her workthe text of her thesis on empathy is embedded within the dense and specialist phrasing of the German phenomenologists. In this article, we hope to unpack Steins ideas for a contemporary psychological audience. We hope to persuade those interested in the nature of empathy, that through its study as a lived experience, a theoretically and coherently grounded understanding of this particular form of understanding can be generated.

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Steins work on empathy has been overlooked by much contemporary psychologyin contrast with Lipps and Schelers theses on the theme. As we shall see, her work is also sometimes misinterpreted, or only partially portrayed. Recently, however, there has been a growing resurgence of interest in some of her doctoral claims, both in the phenomenological and psychological fields of research (e.g., Barrett-Lennard, 1981; Boulanger & Lanon, 2006; Depraz, 2008, 2001; Gallagher, 2007; Gurmin, 2007; Prinz, 2006; Reik, 1948/1971; Rockwell, 2007; Rogers, 1957/2007; Thompson, 2001; White, 1997; Zahavi, 2008, 2007, 2001). We think that her ideas have the potential to clarify the concept of empathy for psychology, and to open up new directions for researchers in this field. We will therefore focus upon the key aspects of Steins thesis, drawing out those which have most relevance for the psychology of empathy. Steins views sometimes contradict widely-held contemporary views about empathy, but they are developed with a logic and elegance which is persuasive, and we hope that the reader will find these points of diffference illuminating and informative; and that a particular picture of empathy emerges.

Steins Brief Biography Edith Stein2 (18911942) was born at Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, into a Jewish family. In her youth, she declared herself an atheist. Stein began her doctoral work while working as an assistant to Husserl at the University of Gttingen, but her studies were interrupted by the war, and the death of Husserls son. For a period she worked as a nurse at a field hospital in Austria. In 1916, the field hospital was dissolved, and Husserl took up a new post at Freiburg im Breisgau, so Stein returned to the town of her birth, where she completed her doctorate in 1917. Stein worked alongside Martin Heidegger, who was also an assistant to Husserl during this period. In Germany, professorial posts were not easily obtained by women or Jews at this time; and Stein appears to have struggled to find a niche for herself. She held posts at Freiburg and Gttingen, before working as a schoolteacher for some years. Academically, she retained an interest in phenomenology, philosophy and psychology, but in the 1920s she also converted to Catholicism, and an increasingly theological focus informed her later work. She left her
2)For a biography, see Oben (1988/2010), and Macintyre (2006).

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final academic post and entered a convent in 1934, and was smuggled into Holland in 1938. She was arrested by the Gestapo in 1942, and sent to Auschwitz, where she was killed. Stein was beatified in 1987 and canonized in 1998. Her life and work are as important to the Catholic Church as they are to students of philosophy. We have taken her work in its own right, but of course we recognise that the story of her life and death is remarkable. Steins work on empathy was written before her conversion to Catholicism, and it is not in any way a mystical artefactalthough this misunderstanding does exist (see Boulanger & Lanon, 2006, p. 505). As a writer of her time, Stein is not alone in having to address, and reflect upon, the relationship between her own ideas and the concept of God; the concept of God was central to the concerns of her readership and peers. This in itself does not transform her early work into theology: in the work discussed here, the concept of God is never used to explain the essence of the phenomenon of empathy, or of human beings.

Stein and Contemporary Psychology Approaches to Empathy Parallel between Contemporary and Historical Views Social understandings have been explained in many diffferent ways in psychology. Among these explanations,3 we find explicit simulation theories (understanding via a reasoning act; e.g., Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Hill, Raste & Plumb, 2001; Batson, 2009; Decety & Jackson, 2006; Duan & Hill, 1996; Gladstein, 1983; Kerem et al., 2001; Hall & Mast, 2007; Hancock & Ickes, 1996; Hess & Blairy, 2001; Lobchuk, 2006; Paal & Bereczkei, 2007; Preston & Waal, 2002), implicit simulation theories (understanding via a contagion-related implicitly imagined experience, e.g., Darling & Clarke, 2009; Decety & Jackson, 2006, 2004; Hatfield, Rapson & Le, 2009; Jabbi, Swart & Keysers, 2007; Preston & Waal, 2002), phenomenological theories (understanding via a direct perceptive, or experiential act, e.g., Depraz, 2008, 2001;
3)Note that we here generalize to psychology areas the most common explication for the way empathic understanding happen, within that particular field. There are, within each of these approaches, alternative views, and hence this generalization might be felt as abusive for someone within that particular field.

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Gallagher, 2007; Gurmin, 2007; Hart, 1999; Prinz, 2006; Scheler, 1913; Stein, 1917; Thompson, 2001; Zahavi, 2008, 2007, 2001), and projection theories (understanding via a identification-related projected experience; e.g., Bachelor, 1988; Boulanger & Lanon, 2006; Gladstein, 1983; Hkansson & Montgomery, 2003; Kerem et al., 2001; Tempel, 2007; Zepf & Hartmann, 2008). Explicit simulation (perspective-taking, role-taking, theories of mind) is a higher-order, usually deliberated reasoning about available information or cues (Batson, 2009, p. 4), based on the others experience or situation, such as what she says and does and your knowledge of her character, values, and desires (Batson, 2009, p. 7). Here, one intellectually imagines, predicts or simulates another persons experience. For example, if a friend tells you that he is going to father a child, and you knew that he had been trying to have children for a while, you now imagine that he is happy. This is how explicit simulation works; and hence it can be said that it is an intellectual form of understanding others. Implicit simulation theories see social understandings as the result of a contamination and/or mimicking experience and a lower-order imaginative experience. That is, people have the the tendency to automatically mimic and synchronize facial expressions, vocalizations, postures and movements with those of another person, and, consequently, to converge emotionally (Hatfield et al., 2009 p. 19). This reaction is subsequently used as the source of knowledge of the experience of another, in a stepwise manner (first mimicry, then contagion, and then understanding). Thus, one infers from ones afffective reaction the experience of another. For example, you encounter a friend, feel unexpectedly happy, and you may somewhere along the line conclude that it is your friend that is happy after all. This is consistent with Lipps theory, and with the contemporary model of interpersonal understandings provided by neurocognitive theories. Projection offfers a similar reading of events but via a distinctive terminology (through the concepts of identification, and then projection; e.g., Zepf & Hartmann, 2008); and without determining that the reactive emotional experience (and perhaps the projective experience as well) necessarily happens subconsciously, as generally observed with implicit simulation theories. Lipps would argue that this experience amounts to an empathic form of interpersonal understanding. Scheler would counter-argue by suggesting that contamination and identification are examples of sympathetic phenomena; and that sympathy is to be distinguished from empathy. Certainly,

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sympathy is first and foremost a response to anothers experience, although it sometimes leaves the impression that one understands others too: we seem to have an immediate understanding of anothers experiences, while also participating in them (Scheler, 1913, p. 3). For Scheler, these responsive afffective phenomena should better be called sympathynot empathy. We propose that the interpersonal understanding achieved through sympathy should perhaps be conceptualized as a sympathetic form of understanding, and one which should be distinguished, on the one hand, from the intellectual form of understanding described by explicit simulation theories. Stein would not accept any of the above explanations as illustrative of the phenomenon of empathy. Her position is in accordance with current phenomenological theories. From this phenomenological perspective, we can use our minds and experiences to personally simulate (explicitly or implicitly) anothers experience, in order to gain insight about these, but this is not the only, or most ordinary way, of understanding others. That is, most commonly, from the viewpoint of the lived experience, one does not need to react in any emotional (contagion), behavioural (mimicking) or rational (remembering our knowledge or similar past experiences) way for the understanding to come about. Rather, people can understand one another not by inference, but directly, as a sort of primary perception (Scheler, 1913, p. 10). This ability is present from infancy, when already in a non-mentalizing way, I am able to see meaning, intention, and emotions in the actions of others (Gallagher, 2007, p. 354). For example, you look at your friend and just see how happy he is, while disclosing the news to you. That is, you would have a perceptive kind of understanding of his experiencefor claritys sake, say, an intuitive form of understanding. In broad strokes, this is what empathy is, for Stein. This experience is sometimes described as an experiential understanding, anchored in the having of the experience of another, and thus confused with sympathetic understandings. We here propose that these explanations for interpersonal understandings (intellectual, sympathetic and intuitive) are distinctive psychological experiences, and merit to be explained in the light of appropriate psychological theories. By offfering Steins views to a contemporary readership, we offfer to discussion an alternative (intuitive) form of interpersonal understanding that is often absent from psychology literature.

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Empathy and Sympathy: A Distinction According to a useful distinction made by Batson (2009), we can place Stein alongside those researchers who understand empathy as a way of knowing what another person is experiencing, and in opposition to those for whom empathy is a response to that knowledge. For instance, many psychologists would hold that empathys afffective component consists of a personal emotional response, congruent with the afffective state of another person (e.g., Batson, 2009; Boulanger & Lanon, 2006; Decety & Jackson, 2006, 2004; Depraz, 2001; Duan & Hill, 1996; Eisenberg, 2000; Gladstein, 1983; Hkansson, 2003; Hofffman, 2000; Hassenstab et al., 2007; Hatfield et al., 2009; Jabbi et al., 2007; Kerem et al., 2001; Preston & Waal, 2002). Two forms of afffective responses commonly investigated by these authors are contagion and distress; and their importance in current empathy-related literature is evident in the following: all forms of empathy involve some level of emotional contagion and personal distress (Preston & Waal, 2002, p. 4). Stein explicitly rejects this idea, not because these responses do not exist, but because, for her, it is not the response, in itself, that is empathic. For Stein, empathy is, by definition, a means through which knowledge is acquired about another persons experienceand not a reaction or response to that understanding. As Zahavi says, empathy (...) amounts to experiencing, say, the other persons emotion without being in the corresponding emotional state yourself (2008, p. 517). Contagion and distress are ruled out as mere simulacra of empathy, precisely because these are personal and responsive experiencesnot anothers experience. An Example In neurocognitive psychology, mirror neuron activation is often read as a contamination or contagion response. According to Scheler (1913), contagion is a discrete, personal, reactive phenomenon that does not presuppose any sort of knowledge of the joy which others feel (p. 15), sometimes happening subconsciously, beyond awareness, in the sense that we get into these states without realizing that this is how this comes about (Scheler, 1913, pp. 16/17). Furthermore, during contagion, there is nothing in the mournful feeling itself to point to its origin; only by inference from causal consideration does it become clear where it came from. That is, contagion can only become a form of interpersonal understanding if one infers from ones personal

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reaction that the other person is probably having a similar experience (i.e., projects the contaminated experience onto the empathee), as implicit simulation theories propose. Contagion researchers commonly back up their empathy theories with cross-species studies of emotional contagion, social imitation, and the work of audiovisuomotor neurons/mirror neurons (van Baaren et al., 2009; Boulanger & Lanon, 2006; Decety & Jackson, 2006, 2004; Dinstein, Thomas, Behrmann & Heeger, 2008; Gallese, 2003; Goldman, 2006; Hatfield et al., 2009; Preston & Waal, 2002). In short, researchers experimenting on macaque monkeys have found that some neurons are active both when performing a goal-directed action, and when observing it being performed by another monkey or person. They called these mirror, or audiovisuomotor, neurons. The activation of these neurons is hypothesised to underpin a form of social understanding (implicit simulation theories). This illustrates the contamination-as-knowing hypothesis that we have suggested as an example of a sympathetic understanding. On the other hand, in phenomenologically-informed research areas,4 the neurobiological and behavioural evidence is often interpreted in a coupling-as-knowing sense (Depraz, 2008, 2001; Gallagher, 2007; Thompson, 2001). The diffference between the neurocognitive contamination-as-knowing interpretation and the neurophenomenological coupling-as-knowing reading of the (sometimes same) evidence is irreconcilable; they cannot both be accepted to explain the same evidence. One excludes the other. The term coupling originated from Humberto Maturanas biological research (1975) on autopoiesis (theoretical description of the interrelationships between living beings and the environment), currently most often associated with his student, Francisco Varela and his neurophenomenological approach to psychology. Coupling is a self-other linkage occurring at a biological cellular level. It is a pre-reflexive, permanently dynamic and co-generative self-other link. For him, both environment and organisms are said to be constantly changing and co-determining each other, even at a cellular level. This theory is sometimes criticized for its solipsism, though given the intrinsic intersubjective meaning of coupling, this criticism is perhaps a misinterpretation. Claiming that the observer and
4)Steins approach is phenomenological and descriptivenot explanatory. She does not address the whys, the genesis or psychological mechanisms behind the experience of empathy. For these, we must turn elsewhere.

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observed change one another at such a primordial level of analysis is not an elegy to solipsism, it is not a defence that the world is nothing but a subjectivity inside ones mind. Rather, it is accepting that the world is intersubjectively constructed, in the more Heideggerian sense of being-in-the-world. This view does not obliterate or clash with the premise that there is a world out there to be perceived and experienced. Subject and object are still two diffferent entities, despite their mutual influences upon each other. Coupling is not merging, or a dissolution of self and other identities as some tend to suggest (e.g., Finlay, 2005). It is simply an interaction occurring at a biological level. Gallagher (2007, p. 356) gives a good example of this coupling mechanism:
If we think of perception as an enactive process (e.g., Hurley, 1998; No, 2004)as involving sensory-motor skills, rather than as just sensory input/ processing; as an active, skilful, embodied engagement with the world rather than the passive reception of information from the environmentthen it may be more appropriate to think of the resonance processes as part of the structure of the perceptual process when perception is of the action of conspecifics. Fogassi and Gallese, despite their simulationist interpretation, put this point clearly: perception, far from being just the final outcome of sensory integration, is the result of sensorimotor coupling (2002, p. 27). Mirror activation, on this interpretation, is not the initiation of simulation, it is part of a direct intersubjective perception of what the other is doing.

Gallagher does not dissociate the mirror neuron activation from empathic experiences; he reads it as a sign of the phenomenon of coupling; and associates it with the meaning of direct perception. For instance, you are seeing your friends happiness, rather than feeling happy yourself, while listening to the news. This illustrates the coupling-as-knowing interpretation. Through coupling, the empathizers experience is composed of 1) a perceptive side; 2) a self-felt resonant personal side (inclusively, mirror neuron activation). For him, mirror neuron activation is part of the empathic perceptive act; but it is not a contamination emotional reaction as this phenomenon is defined. Rather, it is a response insofar as a perception can be conceptualized as a response (to the existence of an object in the environment). This is a radically diffferent interpretation of the mirror neuron activation; and one which does not involve an inferential act, nor an emotional contagion reaction, for the understanding to happen, as with the contamination-as-knowing neurocognitive interpretation. These two competing

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theories are illustrated in Figure 10. Coupling-as-knowing (intersubjective empathic direct understanding experience) is not to be confused with the contamination-as-knowing theory (a personal response, an experience which is no longer, or never was, anothers, and that is subsequently taken for anothers via an additional act). From the typical neurocognitive viewpoint, empathic understandings are a step-by-step experience with each step (the cells identified in the Neurocognitive Perspective: contamination-as-knowing column) following upon the contamination and/or mimicry response. This means that peoples social understandings are seen are the result of a prior sympathetic (Scheler, 1913) response; they are always purely subjective experiences derived from a personal afffective reaction.
Neurophenomenological perspective: coupling-as-knowing

Neurocognitive perspective: contamination-as-knowing

Foreign experience

Foreign experience

Perception of external cues

Imitation and contagion-ascontamination responses

Direct awareness of the foreign experience via an intersubjective coupling experience (perceiving and contagion-as-coupling)

Simulation of an experience

Self-other diffferentiation

Inferential knowledge of the foreign experience

Figure 1: Comparison between the neurocognitive and the neurophenomenological explanations of empathy-as-knowing

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On the other hand, neurophenomenology proposes that empathy is a direct, experiential, non-mediated, intersubjective understandingthat is not fittingly conceived as a plain afffective sympathetic response, nor an intellectual or inferential or projective knowing. It is rather an intersubjective experience, in terms of process and in terms of experiential qualities. Empathy is to experience anothers experience at once, and know that it is anothers experience, simultaneously, as part of the same act. This is congruent with Steins position. Empathy as an Intersubjective Process To introduce what Stein means by empathy, we will begin by clarifying the epistemological assumptions behind her reasoning, which are drawn from the first phases of Husserls phenomenology (Gurmin, 2007; Macintyre, 2006/2007). The first of these is that people are embodied and minded, and embedded in the world. Secondly, the world is objectively out there to be perceived, in the sense that it is not merely a subjective representation inside the mind. Thirdly, people relate to the world by means of an intentional act of consciousness. This intentional act is what brings the world and its objects into consciousness, as phenomena. Consciousness is always intentionalit connects a self to an object, in consciousnessand it is always relationalin the sense that it places a self and an object in relation to one another, by means of an intentional act. Fourthly, phenomena bear in themselves essential qualities of the given world (object). Finally, it is held that through phenomenology it is possible to inspect these phenomena and identify the worlds essential qualities. For Stein (p. 6; p. 21), empathy is an intentional act in this phenomenological sense. However, it is a very particular kind of intentional act, because its object is the experience of another. It is generally a core assumption that empathy is about our experience of another. This is referred to in the literature as the alterity, otherness or foreign quality of an experience. For Stein, empathy deals with the givenness, to oneself, of this foreign experience; and it is through empathy that foreign experience is comprehended (p. 6). Steins understanding of empathy difffers from some contemporary definitions because she explicitly defines empathy as a way of knowing, rather than as a response to the foreign experience (after Batson, 2009), and in terms of her description of the way this knowledge comes about. In

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particular, for her, empathy is a direct givenness, as opposed to the indirect inference (sympathetic and intellectual understandings) favoured by some authors. Steins conception of empathy always involves at least two perspectives, self and other. Thus, psychologically speaking, empathy can be said to be an interpersonal process (and intersubjective in the phenomenological sense outlined above). There is always the empathizer, relating to the empathized (even given the case of empathizing with oneself). On the other hand, in the models of empathy proposed by her predecessor, Lipps, and in implicit simulation theories, a kind of merging of empathizer and empathized is hypothesisedone during which self and other become one. Stein rejects the idea that empathy is the experience of oneness with another. For Stein, Lipps view of empathy describes a kind of inner participation in others experiences (p. 12), which is only complete when there is no longer a distinction between oneself and the other. For Lipps, the ultimate level of empathy is a unity between self and other, captured by a feeling of oneness (p. 16). Lipps explains this with a theory of imitation, which resonates with contemporary ideas about contagion and mirroring (e.g. Hatfield et al., 2009), but is distinct from empathy as Stein understands it. Perhaps as a consequence of Lipps work, we find a number of recent authors asserting that empathy is, or involves, a lack of self-other distinction (Preston & Waal, 2002, p. 4, tab. 2), or a total identification without discrimination between ones feelings and those of the other (Decety & Jackson, 2004, p. 75); or a merging-with, where subject and object function as an unique body (Finlay, 2005); or a feeling of at-oneness (Davis, C., 1990, p. 709), or a connection that temporarily unites the separate social entities of self and other (Davis, M., 2009). For Stein, empathy is not the feeling of oneness (p. 17). Empathy as this oneness, entanglement (Decety & Jackson, 2006, p. 56), fusion, or confusion, is, for Stein, an impossible position,5 simply because what my body is doing to my body and the foreign body is doing to the foreign body would then remain completely obscure (p. 16). We would further argue that this degree of perceptual and embodied confusion is simply not a phenomenological

5)Despite Steins clarity on this, she is still portrayed by White (1997) and C. Davis (1990) as supporting the notion of empathy-as-oneness.

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feature of peoples experiences of empathy. It lacks persuasive face validity. As Gallagher (2007, p. 359) points out:
At the phenomenological level, when I see the others action or gesture, I see (I directly perceive) [original italics] the meaning in the action or gesture. I see the joy or I see the anger, or I see the intention in the face or in the posture or in the gesture or action of the other. I see it. I do not have to simulate it. And I immediately see that it is their action, gesture, emotion, or intention, and it is extremely rare that I would be in a position to confuse it with my own.

Lipps concept of empathy implies a blurring of ones self-identity with anothers, in a manner which is not consistent with most peoples experiences. Indeed, in a clinical sense, this degree of fusion is usually seen as either infantile or pathological. For example:
From object relations theory to transpersonal psychology, there is a presumption that the newborn experiences the world in a preegoic fusion with the primary caregiver and the world at large. (...) There may be similar empathic fusion in adults who have unusually permeable boundaries and a symbiotic relational style (see Johnson, 1994). In conventional diagnostic formulations, this may occur with some regularity in Borderline or Dependent personality disorders. The symbiotic character style may know the other by introjecting, or swallowing whole, the others experience without digesting the experience so as to understand or appreciate it as the others. (Hart, 1999, p. 113/114)

For Stein, empathy involves a self-object connection, not a self-object fusion. This is perhaps more in line with Heideggers mitsein (being with), than with Lipps Einfhlung. Stein explicitly denies that empathy is a fusionor even an analogical feeling of self-other similarity (p. 87). Hence, even though we might even feel something which, though weaker in degree, is not altogether unlike them (Hatfield et al., 2009, p. 20), it is not this feeling that should be seen as empathic in nature. To summarise then, for Stein, empathy is neither a reaction to anothers experience (neither contagion, nor imitation, nor sympathy); nor any form of intellectually-reasoned knowledge about anothers experience (neither inference, nor projection, nor fantasy, nor analogy, nor perspective-taking, nor memory), and it is not a merging of selves or feeling of oneness. In Figure 2, we have illustrated how Stein applies her phenomenologically-derived

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Empathy is not

Contagion Imitation Oneness Sympathy Identification


I personal response

Undiffferentiated, unconsious selfness and otherness Necessary similarity in experiencing

Analogy Projection Association Inference Memory Fantasy Simulation Perspective-taking

I personal knowing

Produced by intellectual activity Mediated

Past intentional object

Figure 2:What Empathy is not: Steins logical path towards a phenomenological definition of empathy criteria (right column) to exclude a number of related concepts and processes as non-empathic phenomena. This list is not exhaustive, but it illustrates the reasoning behind Steins derivation of the essence of empathy. For Stein, empathy is an interpersonal process lived as a direct comingto-know anothers experience. Or, better, more in line with a contemporary phenomenological view, empathy is the intersubjective process of directly knowing the foreign experience.

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Three Levels of Empathy There are three levels to Steins understanding of empathy, which merit further exposition. The term levelwhich Stein employsmay be slightly misleading. There is not a strongly hierarchical element to her account. Stein notes that while one might usually progress through the levels (from first, to second, to third) this is not always the case. As we will see, it is possible to imagine that one might move from level 1 to level 3 (p. 10, p. 70). For reasons which will become obvious, it is unlikely that Stein considered that someone could be said to be having an empathic experience if they had accessed only level 3, however. Each of the levels she describes has particular defining characteristics, but each is also a way of knowing anothers experience. That is, the three levels share one of empathys essential qualities: all are experiences which bring anothers experience to our awareness. This means that, in a way, we can look at these levels as diffferent kinds of empathic phenomena, or different ways into empathy. We have attempted to label the three levels of Steins conception of empathy in ways which are reasonably clear and meaningful to the contemporary reader.6 As we have named them, these levels are: 1. Directly perceiving (the immediate perception of anothers present, minded, embodied, embedded, experience); 2. Experientially projecting (the non-intellectual experience of anothers unfolding experience); and 3. Interpretatively mentalizing (the higher-level recognition and interpretation of our knowledge of the others experience). In the following sub-sections, we expand upon each of them in a little more detail. Level 1: Direct Immediate Perceiving For Stein, empathy is a founding or fundamental act, which, in this level, has a status analogous to direct perception; that is, it is not a product of other deliberated, intellectual, or cognitive processes (Stein, 1917/1989, e.g., p. 14; p. 20; p. 24; p. 27). Rather, it is the result of a perceptual act, which directly brings anothers experience into ones own awareness. This distinguishes empathy from perspective-taking and simulation.

6)For reference, in Steins (p. 10) thesis, these are: 1) the emergence of the experience; 2) the fulfilling explanation; and 3) the comprehensive objectification of the explain experience.

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What it is that We Perceive [Anothers Experience] Direct perception is a special case of perception (a kind of an act of perceiving sui generis, p. 11), because what is immediately perceived is the foreign experience. That is, it is not a meaningless external cue, such as a gesture or a facial expression, into which some meaning is subsequently, imaginatively, and intellectually, infused. Even though we grasp the others experience with the same perceptual intention that we grasp a thing (Moustakas, 1994, p. 94) there is a contrast between ordinary perceptive acts and empathic perception. The former bring concrete objects of the world (physical objects, closely wedded in appearances, Prinz, 2006, p. 434) to our awareness, but empathic perceptions bring us an experience in its entire embodied and embedded form. In empathic perception, when we perceive an expressive gesture, the gesture and its meaning are given to us immediately and together. A key feature of empathic perception is that it involves our immediate knowledge of anothers present experience. It has the foreign experience for its intentional object. Empathy is an act of perception, and the object of that act is the embodied, embedded experience of another, as it is given in consciousness. This distinguishes empathy from some related phenomena, such as fantasy, or contagion. How we do this [Directly, Immediately, Non-Inferentially] Stein emphasises at the outset that empathy deals with grasping here-andnow (1917, p. 7). She stresses (p. 10) that empathy is always the primordial7 experience (by which she means, immediate, here-and-now) of a non-primordial
7)We understand this adjective, in Steins thesis, to mean here-and-now, Bournemark (2005, p. 124) translates it as original instead. Original accentuates a facet relative to the authenticity or the source location. When Stein defines empathy as an act which is primordial as present experience though non-primordial in content (p. 10), it would be precise to infer that empathys content is originally located in the other (empathy being responsible for its subsequent givenness to the perceiver). However, when Stein discusses acts of memory (p. 8), she highlights that memory deals with non-primordial phenomena. And, in memory, the source is the perceiver. Hence, the term primordial cannot be read as relative to the source location. To avoid this interpretation of primordial as meaning located in the self, we define primordial as present, actual, and here-and-now. In this quote, then, we understand that Stein means that the empathic experience is happening in the now for the perceiver, but its content (foreign experience) is not happening in the nowit is anothers experience after all. Or, better, empathy is an intersubjective experience.

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source (the experience of another). These two aspects both contribute to the nature of empathy: whilst the act, for the perceiver, occurs in the here-and-now; the content of this act is not happening in the here-andnow, for the perceiver. The perceived experience is not presently occurring to the perceiver, but to the perceived person. In this level, then, Stein is concerned with what happens when we directly perceive anothers experience, as it unfolds in the present. This distinguishes empathy from memory, and contagion. Stein refers to this possibility of perceiving the body and its experience as empathys con-primordiality (1917, p. 57), or double given-ness (p. 43)by which she means that seen, averted and interior sides are given to the perceiver at once. As Zahavi (2001) would add, experiences are not internal, they are not hidden in the head (p. 153)hence, co-perceiving anothers experience is a perceptive possibility. In phenomenology, experience is perhaps best understood as a kind of convenient, psychological shorthand for our relationship to the world. It is located between person and world. In short, much like any ordinary perceptive act, empathy happens hereand-now, but specifically to bring to our awareness the experience of another. In everyday language we might understand this sort of perception in terms of having a sense, an intuitive knowledge, or a feeling about anothers experience. Steins preference is simply to say that we are able to see the foreign experience, as it happens. Example Steins model of empathic perception, then, has a gestalt quality. She calls this its con-primordiality. Stein uses a spatial metaphor to unpack this, imagining that empathic perception might be understood by analogy with visuo-spatial perception. Hence, here-and-now, in the present ongoing moment, she suggests that it is as if the averted and interior sides of a spatial thing are co-given with its seen sides. In short, the whole thing is seen (1917, p. 57)the con-primordial concept. Imagine that you perceive a chair. When you perceive it, you see the presenting sides of the chair (those which face you), and you see the surrounding area (the context). You would not literally see the back of the chair (averted sides) or its underlying structure (interior sides), of course,

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but the chair is still perceptively given to you in its wholeness (i.e. as a composite of its seen and averted sides and its structure). Under normal conditions we do not perceive a fragmentary chair, composed only of that which is literally accessible to our gaze. In empathy, this analogy means that one simultaneously perceives at the same time (co-perceives) the others outward, expressive, visible (seen sides) and non-visible behaviour (averted sides), as well as the others experience (structure). This is what we mean when we say that for Stein the given-ness of empathic perception is direct. In empathy, we directly coperceive body-and-mind, together, at once, in its context. We directly perceive anothers minded, embodied, embedded, expressive experience. We have access to this gestalt other through empathic perceptive acts. How Might this be Understood? As we have seen, then, Stein views the givenness of anothers experience as a core feature of empathy, and she wishes to emphasise that there is a direct and unmediated quality to this. In her own text, Stein calls this level, the emergence of the experience (1917, p. 10). This might suggest that she sees empathic experience as a process, and one which begins at this level, but this is not necessarily the case. Stein emphasises that in a concrete case people do not always go through all levels (1917, p. 10), and that ones empathic lived experience may be carried out in a manner diffferent from her own order of presentation (p. 14/15; p. 70; see also Depraz, 2001 for a similar formulation). Steins approach is phenomenological, and not explanatory. However, in the most recent phenomenological examination of empathys levels, Depraz (2008, p. 172), relates this direct perception to Paarung (after Husserl), or coupling (after Maturanas acoplamiento, 1975). Similarly, Zahavi (2007; 2001) sees direct perception as the most fundamental mechanism underlying our daily interpersonal relationships. Empathy, he argues, makes people intelligible to each other in a direct, immediate manner, and is the core form of interpersonal knowledge. But even from a completely diffferent background, relative to the study of neurosciences and artificial intelligence, a similar claim can be found: there is a kind of mind reading which is in a certain sense purely perceptual and unaided by any verbal theoretical elements (Rockwell, 2007, p. 2).

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Level 2: Experientially Projecting Why Empathy is a Form of Projecting Stein herself describes this level as the fulfilling explication (1917, p. 10). The reason for this is discussed below. We8 have chosen to emphasize instead the importance of another feature of Steins perspective for this level: the sense of empathy as involving a kind of transposal or projection of the self. Through an examination of Steins step-by-step elimination of what empathy is not, we can conclude that, for her, empathic projections: 1) are experienced (not reasoned, or imagined, or simulated, such as in perspective-taking; 1917, p. 14); 2) are a means of accessing genuinely foreign experiences (not hypothetical, probable, p. 27; nor conjured, or projected, experiences, p. 20); and 3) this access is direct (not based in any kind of past knowledge, such as the empathizers past experiences, p. 27) and immediate. In more common usage, projection is understood as an intellectual process, based on pre-acquired knowledge and concrete evidence-based reasoning; and does not necessarily happen here-and-now. In contrast, Steins projection is a very particular kind of projection. It is an experiential, nonintellectual, and intuitive (1917, p. 20) kind of projection. This notion is much closer to Lipps understanding of empathy, though it can be distinguished from contemporary neuropsychological theories because this is still a direct non-simulative experience that is given as anothers. That is, the experienced projection is not an intellectual simulation, and is immediately co-perceived as foreign. An Example Imagine that we are watching a novice acrobat balancing on a wire. At first, we directly see his/her fear of heights (direct perception level). We may also experience this fear to some degree, but for that experience to be an

8)Thompson (2001) offfers a similar reading by explaining this level as a kind of projection. This supports our reading, even though, explicitly, in her text, Stein never connects empathic projections, discussed at length, with the second level as put forward in the beginning of the dissertation. Though, after careful analysis and consideration, this is the most reasonable and probable reading of her ideas for this level.

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empathic one, the fright could not be our own personal fear (e.g. contagion), or an imagined probable fright (a simulated or remembered one), or a fear for the safety of the acrobat (Schelers fellow-feeling, or sympathy). Instead, it would have to be the acrobats fright, given to us via experiential projection. As we observe the acrobat, we may project into the objects experience, turning with it towards the wire and the depths below. At such a point we are empathically given an experience of the acrobats own fear. Critically, we experience it, not in the fullest sense (the sense with which we might experience our own fear, for our own safety), but only partially as the acrobats fear. The fright, for the empathising observer, is non-primordial; it is not happening in the here-and-now. It is anothersand hence distinct from contagion, as the latter is usually defined. After all, it is not the empathiser who is balancing on the wire and experiencing fear he/she is just watching the acrobat and having an empathic experience. As Stein puts it, I am not one with the acrobat, but only at him. I do not actually go through his emotions but quasi (1917, p. 16). In the previous section, we noted that empathic perception has the others experience for its intentional object (e.g. the acrobats fear). For empathic projection, the intentional object shiftsand we become focused on the intentional object which is at the center of the other s experience (e.g. the high wire, the looming depths below). In both empathic projections and empathic perceptions, however, subject and object are not one, because they are not having the very same single experience. The otherness of the experience, implicitly a self-other diffferentiation, is one of empathys defining attributes. The observer does not really feel any threat for him or herself (only quasi fear), but rather gains access to the acrobats fear by feeling it with him/her. Metaphorically speaking, it is a second-person fear, where we are with the other, experiencing the others extant ongoing state, almost as if we were having the experience ourselves, but aware that we are not. In our example, for the empathising observer, the fear is not happening here-and-now, and nor is the act of wire walking. The experience and content are anothers, and yet we are with the other, experiencing it. Hence, Stein claims that this level exhibits the non-primordial parallel to the having of the experience (1917, p. 10). It is important to note that, for Stein, empathic experiences can be about sensations just as easily as they can be about emotions. This makes sense when we think about the features of her approach, but it is a dimension of

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empathy which is not always included in contemporary writing. In Steins description, the movement from perception to projection is identical, regardless of whether the observed experience is an emotion or a sensation; a feeling into and then a feeling with. This idea is explored in her thesis as sensual empathy (1917, p. 58/60). Why Stein Calls this the Fulfilling Explication Stein uses the term self-transposal. This delineation is applied in some contemporary work, too, such as when Depraz (2001) describes an equivalent stage as being about a spontaneous, highly embodied, imaginative and kinaesthetic self-transposal to anothers experience. In Stein, this concept is perhaps closer to the notion of a sensing-in, a feeling-at, a feeling with (p. 58)definitely not a feeling for (sympathy); or an imagined feeling, as perspective-taking and simulation are usually conceived. It is an intersubjective experience all along. From this point, it is easier to see why this second level might be referred to as the fulfilling explication. Returning to the novice acrobats fear of heights, recall that, initially, one empathically perceived the acrobats fear. However, it is only through projecting into this experience, that one is able to explore this foreign experience, and to inspect its many sides. For instance, one might acknowledge that the acrobat is looking beyond the wire, down into the void below. This happens in an exploratory lived manner, unfolding in the present with the foreign experience. Through this act, other sides of the foreign experience are revealed, such as acknowledging the trembling of the wire or the absence of a safety net. Consequently, one fulfils (the term adopted by Stein) ones awareness of the others experienceor, at least, ones awareness is enriched. The act is an explication because it reveals in more detail and depth that which was initially perceived as merely fear. It seems to us that referring to this as an imaginative projection, as Depraz (2001) and Thompson (2001) have done, falls short of this levels experiential, present-tense, intuitive, sensing-in essence. Imagination may suggest that Steins view is much closer to intellectual conjecture, than it is; as Stein points out, this experience is not about the feeling of ones own experience via anothers screen (p. 20). It is about how we come to feel the experience of another.

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Level 3: Interpretatively Mentalizing Since empathy is often represented in psychology as partly, or wholly, an intellectualized ability, this level is probably the aspect of Steins account which seem most familiar to a contemporary readership. Thompson (2001) claims that, in this level, the experience faces me again, but now in a clarified or explicated way (p. 16) and this level is usually seen as following on from the explicative, experiential level. However, for us, this is not its most distinguishing characteristic. What is fundamental, and fundamentally different, is that, for the first time, empathy includes a clearly intellectual facet, responsible for its more intellectual comprehensibility. Thus, with this level, Stein describes the point at which the interpersonal process of empathic knowing reaches its inevitable conclusionthis is where we actively interpret our directly perceived feeling-in of the others experience, and it becomes more explicitly and linguistically accessible to us as knowledge. Simultaneously, then, this is the point at which the process more clearly resembles a non-direct ways of knowing the foreign experience, though still distinguishable because its intentional object is a directly given foreign experience (not a deduced, inferred one). What is Mentalized (The Foreign Experience) Here, for the first time, that which was directly intuitively given about the others experience (during direct perception and/or experiential projection) is represented, in awareness, as a mental object. That is, the content of the intuition is mentalized, becoming, in awareness, an intellectual idea about the foreign experience. This is most transparent when Stein states that, at this level, empathy can be seen as an intuitive idea about anothers experience. Before this level, empathy is not an idea, or a representation, but intuition only (p. 20). But now we have a form of knowledge about the foreign experience, in the usual conception of the word knowledge. Through mentalizationthe making of an experience into a mental objectempathy becomes comprehension. The novel quality that we have emphasised in the naming of this level is that this act partly transforms the empathic experience into an intellectually intelligible one. More precisely, during this level, the empathizer is finally given the foreign experience in an intelligible, partly interpreted, manner. Consequently, the foreign experience becomes once more, as it was during direct perception, the intentional object of the empathic actwith the diffference here that


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now the others experience is not the target of an intuitive act, but of a mentalizing one. Example To extend the example of the acrobat, recall that, initially, the acrobats fear was directly perceived (first level). Then, the perceiver projected into it, to explore some of its non-perceptively given sides (second level), say, the escalating intensity of the acrobats fear. Then, finally, the perceiver gives to the intuition an intellectual formwhich might hypothetically mean the empathizer saying to him/herself that the acrobat is experiencing something that could be called fear of falling (third level). In this intellectual manner, the acrobats experience becomes an intelligibly interpretedthus partly, or fully, comprehended; the empathic experience completed. Hence, it is only through this level that empathy is, as previously noted, a more intellectual act through which the foreign experience is comprehended (p. 6). These three aspects (i.e. occurring after experiential projection; requiring the making of the experience into a mental object; and being an interpretative activity) explain the name given by Stein to this level: comprehensive objectification of the experience (p. 10). The Importance of the Mentalization Level For Stein, the empathic experience can only be complete with the intellectual interpretative act (representation is the term she adopts), which is simply the giving of an intellectual meaning to an intuition. More than that, she even tells us that the empathic representation is the only fulfilment possible (p. 57). In order to understand the meaning behind this claim, we must inspect the term fulfilment. We have used it in relation to the second level, and translated it in terms of the enrichment and revelation of the nonperceptively given aspects of the others experience. We have also noted that Steins sees the third level as the fruition and end of the empathic process. Metaphorically-speaking, we might imagine a river flowing through the earth, exploring the surroundings as it goes. This would be the experiential fulfilment. At the point where the river reaches the ocean, in a sense, it ceases to be a riverbut by ceasing to be, its path is complete. This would be the representational act. When Stein claims that the empathic act can

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only be completed by establishing an intellectual representation, it as though the empathic act arrives at its destination, and in doing so, the process of knowing is transformed, and becomes something else.

Summary of Steins Approach Steins phenomenological equation includes the self, the intentional act (empathy) and its object (foreign experience). With this equation, Stein is able to detect three kinds of empathic phenomena: direct perception; experiential projection; and interpretative mentalization. And although these ways into empathy are about the knowing of the foreign experience, it is only the latter (mentalization) that can be properly qualified as a form of intellectual knowledge. The first two are intuitive, not ideational. In short, the first level, direct perception, is about the direct, non-mediated (e.g. by expressive behaviour or aprioristic knowledge) co-givenness of another persons present embodied, embedded, minded experience. Here, one immediately sees the foreign experience. The second level, experiential projection, is about exploring, as if with the other person, their unfolding experience. Here, one feels aspects of the foreign experience, some of which may not have been perceived at level 1. Finally, in the third level, interpretative mentalization, empathy is transformed into an intellectual, interpretative act. During this level, one recognises and represents the others experience by forming an intellectual interpretation of what was given of it. And, since the intentional object of this act is still an intuitively directly given foreign experience, then, although of an intellectual nature, this is still an empathic act. This act completes the empathic experience. Although organized in a sequential manner, people may perhaps enter into empathy at any of these levels, as they may even skip a few (p. 10, p. 70)though level 3, alone, cannot count as an empathic experience. It must always be an interpretation of either level 1, 2, or both. These levels share some essential characteristics that distinguish them from non-empathic acts of consciousness. First, the act of empathizing is immediate, it is here and now experience (p. 7). Secondly, it is an intentional act of consciousness. Thirdly, its intentional object is foreign (the foreign experience, or the foreign intentional object). Fourthly, this experience is, to a great extent, direct, non-intellectual and non-mediated. Fifthly, empathy is specifically about the knowing of anothers experience. Finally,

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what is given through empathy is always a second-person experience. It is not an authentic personal experience. This is what essentially defines empathy as a phenomenon across the three levels: empathy is the comingto-know anothers experience.

Discussion The direct implication of the nature of empathy is that selfness and otherness are never absent or confused. Rather, the otherness of the foreign experience is permanently co-given with the empathizers experience, even if only in the background of experiencing. Hence, self and other are always two beings with diffferent experiences and identities, even while relating empathically: both experiences are actually diffferent in themselves (Stein, 1917, p. 23). It is in this givenness of otherness that Steins empathy becomes more clearly an intersubjective experience. For her, the empathic act can be understood as intersubjective in nature, because it has two sides, it has two essences (p. 19): 1) the foreign experience; and 2) ones own experience. Consequently, it is fundamental in any interpersonal encounter, it acts as the bases of intersubjective experience (p. 64) because it is how human beings comprehend the psychic life of their fellows (p. 11)it is even seen as a key to ones individuality. Empathy is then a core aspect of ones lived daily experience, both in an individual and in an interpersonal sense. It allows for a mutual interpersonal understanding. Accepting this, the problem of how it is possible to perceive other minds becomes one of those pseudo problems (Zahavi, 2001, p. 155). Reference to the other is already inherent to ones being-in-the-world. For Stein, selfother similarity is indeed enabled by empathy, but it is a non-empathic phenomenon. It is a only its consequence, in the sense that, before the apprehension of similarity takes place, the other must first have been directly given to oneself. That is, empathy allows for the understanding of oneself as a living body among many other living bodies (p. 88). Correspondence with Psychotherapeutic Theories Stein describes three types of empathic experiences, though none of them are commonly called empathy in the mainstream psychology literature.

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There are a few exceptions in the humanistic, existentialist and psychodynamic approaches to psychotherapy, however (e.g., Bozarth, 2009; Geist, 2009; Rogers, 1957/2007; Zepf & Hartmann, 2008). There is no other area which is so fundamentally concerned with other peoples genuine experiences as psychotherapy. And, in contrast with neurocognitive and developmental psychology, some humanistic and psychodynamic approaches to psychotherapy more commonly offfer a view of empathy much closer to Steins conception. In this particular Steinian sense, empathic understandings are conceived as a key aspect of the therapeutic process. The therapists claims can be received by the client as correct or incorrect, but, through the continuous maintenance of an empathic rapport, the client develops a sense of realness, an awareness of being alive, personally present, and invested (Geist, 2009, p. 64) to the point when the accuracy of the intervention is less important (with both right or wrong commentaries serving as an invitation for exploration, and each responsible for personal growth). For example, Rogers (Bozarth, 2009, p. 103, cf. Rogers, 1959, p. 210) proposes that experiencing an accurate, empathic understanding of the clients awareness of his own experience is a necessary condition for the success of therapy. For him, empathy is sensing, perceiving (Steins level 1) and as if experiencing (Steins quasi quality of level 2) the clients experience and meaning:
The state of empathy, or being empathic, is to perceive the internal frame of reference of another with accuracy, and with the emotional components and meanings that pertain thereto, as if one were the other person, but without losing the as if condition.

For Rogers, empathy is the perceptive ability of knowing anothers experiential meaning; and it involves an experiential resonance side that is never to be confused with a genuinely personal experience. Barrett-Lennards (1981) description of empathy also seems to fit with Steins views on intersubjectivity: It [empathy] is an experiencing of the consciousness behind anothers outward communication, but with continuous awareness that this consciousness is originating and proceeding in the other. (p. 92). A core aspect of Barrett-Lennards understanding of empathy is precisely this direct immediate relationship between beings. For Freud, this experience corresponds perhaps to a temporary, partial, identification mechanism,

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used to get into anothers feelings without being directly implicated; and a mechanism helpful for the psychoanalysts comprehension of what is felt as foreign in the self of another person (e.g., Boulanger & Lanon, 2006; Zepf & Hartmann, 2008). Similarly, for Reik (1948; Arnold, 2006), psychoanalytic listening involves an intuitive detection of the clients experiential meanings, a perceiving of the tip of the iceberg of anothers initially unknown psychic dynamics. From these perspectives, as with phenomenology, empathy fosters a moment-to-moment understanding of that eluding otherness, that foreign, hence strange and perhaps estranged, experience. A moment-to-moment awareness, from these perspectives, involves an experiential resonation, an emotional (though the emotional adjective falls shorts of the meaning of experiential) and personal side, where the impressions aroused in the individual are experienced as belonging to an object (Zepf & Hartmann, 2008, p. 749), the location of clients and therapists experiences are clearly diffferentiated, their belongingness clearly given to the therapist throughout the empathic experience. Thus, in the light of Steins work and these approaches, there is no need to become an emotional stone-therapist, or to introduce a distance between subject and object, as some have proposed (e.g., in the experience of empathy, individuals must be able to disentangle themselves from others. This distance is a key characteristic in psychotherapy, Decety & Jackson, 2006, p. 56). Since there is no merging to begin with, any defusing or distancing is irrelevant. To conclude, Steins writings, thorough and detailed, can inform the research, practice and teaching of psychotherapy, by illuminating empathys lived experience, from the empathees side, one which is not commonly studied in this area (Greenberg et al., 2001). Limits and Deception in Empathy Stein answers to the question of authenticity by offfering that it is possible to experientially distinguish between fake, or empty (p. 62; p. 77) expressions; and genuine ones. Faking is in itself an experience, and one which is empathically given to the empathizer as an empty one, we then generally assume that empathy is about the givenness of anothers genuine present experience. However the empathic act is not free from error. Empathic experiences are shaped by the empathizers life-long habits of intuiting and thinking

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(p. 62). That is, the intuitive and the interpretative acts are subjected to habits, hence permeable to the empathizers past experiences and knowledge, more vulnerable to the influence of idiographic perspectives, preconceptions, or habits. Although these habits are not necessarily responsible for inaccurate knowing (for example, they may just condition the selectiveness of the empathizers attention), through them, empathy becomes susceptible to inaccurate or deceptive knowledge. This potential inaccuracy is not restricted to empathic acts. Indeed, for Stein, non-empathic acts more frequently generate deceptive knowledge. For example, if the interpretation draws upon ones similar past experiences (analogy) there is a heightened risk of deception: we come to false conclusions if we empathically take our own individual characteristics as a basis (p. 87). Stein wishes to emphasize that the odds of inaccuracy can be reduced by combining empathic acts and inferential, intellectual acts. For example, the perceiver wonders whether pain (p. 85) is a good interpretation of the others experience, and looks elsewhere for intellectual confirmation (as offfered by external cues such as expressive behaviour and the context of the experience). It is the content of the intuitive act that requires interpretation, but it is the interpretation itself (level 3) that is usually prone to evaluations of accuracy or falsity. This combination of acts helps us in accurately interpreting equivocal expressions (p. 85). Empathy does not necessarily reveal to oneself the foreign experience in its entireness, as there is perhaps as well a sphere of absolute privacy (Scheler, 1913, p. 10). Both self and other are never perceived as complete. To use Steins expression, each is always absently available (Stein, p. 19), to oneself and to another. Nevertheless, to only be given a partial aspect of anothers experience does not make our access less direct, less experiential, less accurate, or less empathic: there is so to speak more to the mind of the other than what we are grasping, but this does not make our understanding non-experiential (Zahavi, 2008, p. 520). As Barrett-Lennard (1981, p. 92) noted, empathic understandings are about the knowing of at least those aspects of his awareness that are most important to him at the moment. In fact, it is exactly this inaccessibility, this limit, which I can experience (cf. Husserl, 1973a, p. 144). And when I do have an authentic experience of another subject, I am exactly experiencing that the other eludes me (Zahavi, 2001, p. 153). There is then a limit to that which

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can be accessed through empathy. Imagine that the acrobat was fearful, but also thrilled with the performances suspense. By noticing only the fear, the observer is still having an experience that is suitably described as an empathic experience. In conclusion, empathic knowing can be inaccurately interpreted and subjected to intuiting habits; and it does not necessarily reveal to the empathizer all there is to know about the foreign experience. Despite this, accuracy can be enhanced by complementing consecutive empathic acts (moment-to-moment empathy) with non-empathic intellectual acts. They can be used in a complementary fashion, with the goal of correctly interpreting that which was empathically experienced, but they are to be distinguished by their nature.

Conclusion Taken together, our argument suggests that conceptually, and in the light of the lived experience, there is a social intuitive understanding that is not properly explained by current empathy models. These models propose that empathy may be understood as if it were a case of perspective-taking, analogy, sympathy, mimicking, contagion, and/or fusion. These are alternative forms of understanding that Stein does not accept as empathic, and their distinctive nature is part of the experience itself (Stein, 1917, p. 62). Furthermore, many of these models seem to merge together several of the many phenomena which empathy has been claimed to be (Batson, 2009), or argue against each other (e.g., the feedback given to Preston & Waal, 2002) as if they were referring to one and the same phenomenon. For Stein, an empathic understanding is an experiential intuitive knowing of someone elses present experience that is not lived as a personal, sympathetic or intellectual form of social understanding. This form of interpersonal understanding is a natural everyday form of relating with other people and their experiences. Recently there has been a revived interest in Steins phenomenological claims about the nature of empathy, principally in phenomenological and phenomenology-informed theories. For example, Deprazs (2001) empathy levels; Gallaghers (2007) situated cognition; Prinz (2006) perception of abstract content; and Zahavis (2008, 2001) nonsimulative direct perceptive access all draw upon Stein. Then, the empathy field would benefit from some conceptual revision and clarity. There may be an alternative route for interpersonal understandings

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that might deserve to be empirically investigated, firstly qualitatively, to gather evidence of its presence in peoples experiences of their social understandings; and then also from within experimental and neuropsychology paradigms, so that the underlying processes may be put to test. As Gurmin (2007), we propose that Steins phenomenological approach can offfer neurologists a comprehensive account of empathy that will aid them insofar as they reflect on scientific explanations (p. 100), and that its implications have the potential to extend some way beyond this.9

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