Author ORCID Identifier

0000-0003-0712-421X

Location

Room 3

Document Type

Paper

Keywords

empathy, argumentation, dialogue, relevance, otherness, transactivity, discourse analysis, pragmatics

Start Date

6-6-2020 10:00 AM

End Date

6-6-2020 11:00 AM

Abstract

The possibility of dialogue is rooted in the fundamental and basic capacity of understanding the interlocutor’s utterances – and more importantly, positions. As pointed out in the literature (Gilbert 1997; Buber 1999[1957]), understanding involves adopting the worldview of the other, which includes his or her values, emotions, and other background assumptions. This constraint on understanding leads to a problem: how is it possible to understand the other in a dialogue, when the only access to his or her worldview is the dialogue itself?

In the rhetorical tradition, the notion of empathy has always been considered as the crucial bridge between the orator and the interlocutors (Aristotle, Rhetoric. 1395b5-12): the orator needs to understand what the audience considers likely and acceptable in a given time (Untersteiner, 1954). Empathy – the ability to put oneself inside the interlocutor’s position in an argument (Walton, 1992, p. 255) – is thus a rhetorical and argumentative precondition. However, despite its crucial importance, no studies have addressed the challenge of operationalizing this concept, translating it into proxies that can be used for determining how empathic a dialogue is. This paper intends to propose a coding scheme for capturing two dimensions of empathy in dialogue – otherness and relevance.

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Philosophy Commons

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Jun 6th, 10:00 AM Jun 6th, 11:00 AM

Coding empathy

Room 3

The possibility of dialogue is rooted in the fundamental and basic capacity of understanding the interlocutor’s utterances – and more importantly, positions. As pointed out in the literature (Gilbert 1997; Buber 1999[1957]), understanding involves adopting the worldview of the other, which includes his or her values, emotions, and other background assumptions. This constraint on understanding leads to a problem: how is it possible to understand the other in a dialogue, when the only access to his or her worldview is the dialogue itself?

In the rhetorical tradition, the notion of empathy has always been considered as the crucial bridge between the orator and the interlocutors (Aristotle, Rhetoric. 1395b5-12): the orator needs to understand what the audience considers likely and acceptable in a given time (Untersteiner, 1954). Empathy – the ability to put oneself inside the interlocutor’s position in an argument (Walton, 1992, p. 255) – is thus a rhetorical and argumentative precondition. However, despite its crucial importance, no studies have addressed the challenge of operationalizing this concept, translating it into proxies that can be used for determining how empathic a dialogue is. This paper intends to propose a coding scheme for capturing two dimensions of empathy in dialogue – otherness and relevance.