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

Sarah Songhorian


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.


Theory-Theory of Mind; basic empathy; Max Scheler; sui generis perception

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