SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Actional Theory of Adam Smith Sympathy
(Ethics, English)

What is to be understood when someone says: "Put yourself in her shoes!" Without a doubt, it is empathy or sympathy. But may this kind of phenomenon be an action? Intuitively, it seems that sympathizing could be something done by an agent. To argue in favor of such an ontological move, one line of argument consists in showing that it requires an effort (Massin, 2017). Whether it is projective empathy or Smithian sympathy, this effort is either implied or explicitly acknowledged (Bailey, 2018; Kaupinnen, 2017; Fleishacker, 2012; Coplan, 2011). Although researchers stress the importance of effort, this aspect has received little attention. Overall, existing studies do not define the concept fully nor address the possibility of actional sympathy. This paper nuances Adam Smith_s (1982) understanding of sympathy, currently known as projective empathy (Darwall, 1998), and proposes an actional analysis of sympathy. It shows that firstly an effort requires an action. Then, it argues that a specific sort of sympathy implies an effort. Lastly, it provides a substantial account of sympathetic effort, defined in terms of forces (Massin, 2017). To sum up, if there is an effort, there is an action. Since sympathizing involves effort, then sympathy - in a Neosmithian account - can claim the status of action.

Chair: Silvana Pani
Time: 10:00-10:30, 08 September 2022 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.005
Remark: CHANGE. The talk is cancelled!

Cecile Rosat 
(Neuch__tel, Suisse)

Testability and Meaning deco