Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To see translations of Freud SE or GW…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

When you hover your mouse over a paragraph of the Standard Edition (SE) long enough, the corresponding text from Gesammelte Werke slides from the bottom of the PEP-Web window, and vice versa.

If the slide up window bothers you, you can turn it off by checking the box “Turn off Translations” in the slide-up. But if you’ve turned it off, how do you turn it back on? The option to turn off the translations only is effective for the current session (it uses a stored cookie in your browser). So the easiest way to turn it back on again is to close your browser (all open windows), and reopen it.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Maddaloni, A. (1961). The Meaning of Empathy. Am. Imago, 18(1):21-33.

(1961). American Imago, 18(1):21-33

The Meaning of Empathy

Arnold Maddaloni

In his book, Listening With The Third Ear, Theodor Reik showed concern over the meaning of empathy. For instance, he writes: “… this expression sounds so full of meaning that people willingly overlook its ambiguity …. The word empathy sometimes meant one thing, sometimes another, until now it does not mean anything.”

Very little of significance has been written about empathy. It has been neglected in much of psychoanalytic literature and yet, as we shall take note, it remains the very core of psychologic understanding as distinguished from the merely logical and theoretical approach. It is the one concept that distinguishes the method of observation from that of the physicist. Empathic insight is the prerequisite for emphathic understanding of another's psyche. This essay attempts to clarify the meaning of empathy as it is used in psychoanalysis.

According to Theodore Lipps, empathy means “to feel” or “to read oneself into” another person, thing, or situation. In his Raemesthetik (1897), Lipps used the word “Einfuhlung” to describe this psychological process. He defined it as “the objectification of my quality into an object distinct from myself, whether the quality objectified merits the term ‘feeling’ or not. While I am in the act of appreceiving an object, I experience as though in it, or issuing from it, as something apperceived and present in it, an impetus toward a definite manner of inner behavior. This appears as given through it, as though imparted to me by it.”

To Lipps ordinary insight meant that one experiences an object as if “opposite” to it, or standing beside it.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.