Interpersonal Understanding and the Limits of Empathy

April 27, 2021

This event is online


University of California, Berkeley
University of Duisburg-Essen


University of Duisburg-Essen

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The DFG/AHRC-Project “How does it feel? – Interpersonal Understanding and Affective Empathy” ( is happy to announce the second of a series of online workshops on “Interpersonal Understanding and Affective Empathy”:

Workshop “Interpersonal Understanding and the Limits of Empathy”, 27 April 2021, 5.00 p.m. (CET)

With Olivia Bailey (UC Berkeley) and Katharina Anna Sodoma (University of Duisburg-Essen)

Topic: Empathy is an important means to interpersonal understanding. But for empathy to contribute to a genuine understanding of others, it has to succeed. However, empathizing with others successfully can be very difficult and there are many ways in which our attempts to take up others’ perspectives can fail. This workshop explores these “limits of empathy” and their consequences for interpersonal understanding. We will address the following questions: Are there any principled reasons why full empathy with another person is impossible? Is it possible to empathize with others whose sensibilities differ significantly from our own? Under which circumstances is empathy especially likely to fail? What are the specific harms associated with failing or distorting attempts to empathize? Can some of these limits of empathy be overcome and if so how?

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April 26, 2021, 5:00pm CET

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State University of New York, Albany

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