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[Xmca-l] Re: Question on Developing Empathy
My two favorite quotes I've come across today:
1. "The end of all education should surely be service to others." - Cesar
2. "There the students engaged in a variety of mutually valued practices --
a hybrid idioculture-- and learned through empathy. It was all about
growing ourselves by participating in the development of others." - Mike
On Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 8:17 PM, mike cole <email@example.com> wrote:
> Hi Larry-- I still have not read John's paper. But at least dealing with
> email I could not answer owing to local consequences of getting some of the
> we asked for.
> Firstly, here we have a clear case where John should be asked to join the
> discussion. He is a long-admired colleague with whom we have far too little
> interaction, speaking personally.
> So, here is a part of answering. Perhaps off topic. I hope not. I believe
> that the principle of the retrospective construction of meaning is a
> foundational part of the problem under discussion and fictive stories about
> how cognition and emotion are a dance between the frontal lobe and the
> limbic system. In so far as emotion is effected AT ALL by experience, it is
> retrospective, and hence, constructive. the "tools" of that construction
> are, in the aggregate, human culture.
> Cultural cognition is always, in principle, non-linear -- a sequences of
> vicious circles and spirals of development.
> As a routine practice, I used to spend a lot of time with undergraduates at
> a local housing project. There the students engaged in a variety of
> mutually valued practices -- a hybrid idioculture-- and learned through
> empathy. It was all about growing ourselves by participating in the
> development of others.
> Finding socio-cultural-historical niches where such settings can be
> sustained is quite a different matter. I am particularly interested in how
> fragile and pre- occupying they are.
> On Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 6:22 AM, Larry Purss <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > A further response to John Shotter's exploration on subjective/objective
> > cuts as fluid dynamic wayfinding [orienting]
> > John concludes the paper on agential realism on page 19 with a question,
> > which he is inviting our answer-ability. In re-stating this question on
> > theme of *empathy* I hope this concrete question may generate responses
> > which are relevant for how we go on together.
> > The last paragraph on page 19 in which he leads up to the question is
> > re-stated:
> > All this is quite revolutionary. Much of what we have taken as *basic* to
> > our inquiries, e.g., the variables whose effects in social life we seek
> > understand, such as race, ethnicity, culture, age, social class;
> > such as motivation, perception, cognition; things such as emotions,
> > excuses, justifications, and so on, and so on, we come to realize are
> > in fact, AFTER THE FACT outcomes of our inquiries. Further, when in
> > cognitive neuroscience in particular we read such sentences as: "Empathy
> > draws on these bodily and limbic shifts in a process called
> > in which we perceive inward ... [where] interoception, interpretation,
> > attribution are the proposed steps of empathy carried out by the
> > pre-frontal region [of the brain]"(Seigal, 2007, p.168) we must ASK
> > OURSELVES whether anything in this account actually relates to phenomena
> > people's everyday activities we call empathic [Frankfurt, 1998]?
> > Also, could we ever possibly apply these supposed 'elements' in actually
> > helping someone deficient in empathy to come to SHOW empathy more in
> > daily practice, say, in nursing elderly patients - or is it the case that
> > the empathic conduct of an everyday practice needs to be LEARNED by quite
> > some other means than by building it up, piece by piece, from objective
> > elements according to PRE-ESTABLISHED principles? To repeat the point
> > above, all these nominalized 'things' are FORESHADOWED in the very WAY
> > which we, prior to the conduct of our investigations, commit ourselves
> to a
> > particular way of LOOKING AT the matter - "the decisive movement of the
> > conjuring trick has been made," says Wittgenstein (1953), "and it was the
> > very one that we thought quite innocent."
> > I, at work in schools, ask similar questions about *developing* empathy
> > believe John Shotter in this article offers an answer which invites
> > commentary. His central insight is that by enacting agential cuts AS
> > performances we divide ourselves into ASPECTS which DO the sensing
> > AND ASPECTS of ourselves that are subjected to what is sensed. In other
> > words our *findings* cannot be taken AS *basic* but are actually
> > WITHIN our practices
> > John's conclusion is hermeneutical, inviting further answer-ability. I
> > believe his questions and answers are relevant to *developing* empathy
> > WITHIN our WAYS of orienting each in the other.
> > Larry
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602