Animals and Empathy
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15-05-2013, 10:04 AM
RE: Animals and Empathy
If your definition of 'love' is 'the same but more', I'd say that's not particularly useful. Though it is a start. Me, I'd say a part of the definition ought to involve self-awareness with regards to empathy and affection; that seems to be something a little more clear-cut - though hardly in itself sufficient, I acknowledge...
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15-05-2013, 12:01 PM
RE: Animals and Empathy
There seems to be some conflation of empathy and sympathy up in here. Unsure

Empathy is the ability to understand and relate to the emotional state of another being. I can empathize with a lion that's about to eat me or with a hungry man who robs me so he can buy a meal. I do not sympathize with either of them... for a variety of reasons.

Sympathy is the ability to actually feel the same emotions another being feels. Above, I may not be hungry when I'm attacked, so I can't sympathize but I can empathize because I have been hungry before. I might have also been broke before, so I could further sympathize with my mugger. Or not.



Love is an involuntary response to virtue that compels us toward a desire to spend time with the person we love. It includes empathy and sympathy but it is very different than both. In the above examples, I might hate the homeless man for not providing for himself but I also might sympathize with him. For the lion's part, assuming I escape, there is neither love nor hate to be had. He was doing what he was supposed to be doing and to hate him for it would be to hate the sun for rising in the East. In neither case do I have any desire to spend time with, share thoughts with or make whoopi with my attackers, regardless the empathic connection I make.

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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15-05-2013, 12:15 PM
Re: RE: Animals and Empathy
(15-05-2013 12:01 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  There seems to be some conflation of empathy and sympathy up in here. :unsure:

Empathy is the ability to understand and relate to the emotional state of another being. I can empathize with a lion that's about to eat me or with a hungry man who robs me so he can buy a meal. I do not sympathize with either of them... for a variety of reasons.

Sympathy is the ability to actually feel the same emotions another being feels. Above, I may not be hungry when I'm attacked, so I can't sympathize but I can empathize because I have been hungry before. I might have also been broke before, so I could further sympathize with my mugger. Or not.



Love is an involuntary response to virtue that compels us toward a desire to spend time with the person we love. It includes empathy and sympathy but it is very different than both. In the above examples, I might hate the homeless man for not providing for himself but I also might sympathize with him. For the lion's part, assuming I escape, there is neither love nor hate to be had. He was doing what he was supposed to be doing and to hate him for it would be to hate the sun for rising in the East. In neither case do I have any desire to spend time with, share thoughts with or make whoopi with my attackers, regardless the empathic connection I make.

I'm not sure I follow with all you're describing with love. Those are all associates with love but I think their separate feeling/emotions of their own. (the make whoopee, share thoughts, etc.)

I don't think its the same as just love: Love I thought here is just being deeply invested into someone by understanding and caring for their well being. Its kinda a empathy to a deep compassion level.
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15-05-2013, 12:24 PM
RE: Animals and Empathy
(15-05-2013 12:15 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  
(15-05-2013 12:01 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  There seems to be some conflation of empathy and sympathy up in here. Unsure

Empathy is the ability to understand and relate to the emotional state of another being. I can empathize with a lion that's about to eat me or with a hungry man who robs me so he can buy a meal. I do not sympathize with either of them... for a variety of reasons.

Sympathy is the ability to actually feel the same emotions another being feels. Above, I may not be hungry when I'm attacked, so I can't sympathize but I can empathize because I have been hungry before. I might have also been broke before, so I could further sympathize with my mugger. Or not.



Love is an involuntary response to virtue that compels us toward a desire to spend time with the person we love. It includes empathy and sympathy but it is very different than both. In the above examples, I might hate the homeless man for not providing for himself but I also might sympathize with him. For the lion's part, assuming I escape, there is neither love nor hate to be had. He was doing what he was supposed to be doing and to hate him for it would be to hate the sun for rising in the East. In neither case do I have any desire to spend time with, share thoughts with or make whoopi with my attackers, regardless the empathic connection I make.

I'm not sure I follow with all you're describing with love. Those are all associates with love but I think their separate feeling/emotions of their own. (the make whoopee, share thoughts, etc.)

I don't think its the same as just love: Love I thought here is just being deeply invested into someone by understanding and caring for their well being. Its kinda a empathy to a deep compassion level.

I'm not arguing that we can not want to share thoughts with people we don't love. What I am saying is that when we love, we want to do those things with that person... often over and above the notion of doing them with any other person. In the example of whoopi, it's quite common for humans to reserve their whoopi for only one person they love and that's usually the person they would say they most love. And I would also argue that wanting to make whoopi isn't an emotion... it's a by product of emotion. Nor is sharing thoughts an emotion. It's a tool used to gain knowledge, share knowledge, etc.

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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15-05-2013, 02:06 PM
RE: Animals and Empathy
I think some of you are confusing love with sexual attraction.

Sexual attraction has nothing to do with love per se.

You don't have to love a person to have sex with them, and you can love a person without having sex with them. They are totally separate.

There are times when they can go together, as during the human mating season. If mated monogamously, people stay mated because of one or the other or hopefully both.

But they are totally independent from each other.

You can have sex with someone you could never love, and you can love someone you could never have sex with.

So don't confuse love with romantic feelings.

Love is a mix of many things. I have no idea how these things may be interdependent, or maybe they are not:

Empathy (strongly, you feel what they feel) , admiration, fondness, understanding and just a mix of chemicals that draws you to that person (or other animal ). This is the person you would give your life for without hesitation. This can be a mate, a child, a friend, someone you admire for whatever reasons and so on.

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15-05-2013, 03:31 PM
RE: Animals and Empathy
(15-05-2013 02:06 PM)Dom Wrote:  Empathy Sympathy (strongly, you feel what they feel) , admiration, fondness, understanding and just a mix of chemicals that draws you to that person (or other animal ). This is the person you would give your life for without hesitation. This can be a mate, a child, a friend, someone you admire for whatever reasons and so on.

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Empathy is understanding the emotions of others... sympathy is feeling the emotions of others.

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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15-05-2013, 03:36 PM
RE: Animals and Empathy
(15-05-2013 03:31 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  
(15-05-2013 02:06 PM)Dom Wrote:  Empathy Sympathy (strongly, you feel what they feel) , admiration, fondness, understanding and just a mix of chemicals that draws you to that person (or other animal ). This is the person you would give your life for without hesitation. This can be a mate, a child, a friend, someone you admire for whatever reasons and so on.

Fixt. Thumbsup

Empathy is understanding the emotions of others... sympathy is feeling the emotions of others.

When you understand and feel another’s feelings for yourself, you have empathy.

When you sympathize with someone, you have compassion for that person, but you don’t necessarily feel her feelings.

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15-05-2013, 05:10 PM
RE: Animals and Empathy
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/empathy?s=t
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