University of Hertfordshire

Empathy, simulation and narrative

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Shaun Gallagher
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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
Pages (from-to)355-381
JournalScience in Context
Journal publication dateSep 2012
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


A number of theorists have proposed simulation theories of empathy. A review these theories show that, despite the fact that one version of the simulation theory can avoid a number of problems associated with such approaches, there are further reasons to doubt whether simulation actually explains empathy. A high-level simulation account of empathy, distinguished from the simulation theory of mindreading, can avoid problems associated with low-level (neural) simulationist accounts; but it fails to adequately address two problems: the diversity problem and the starting problem. It is then argued that a narrative approach to empathy avoids all of these problems and offers a more parsimonious account.

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