"The Object of Empathic Emotions"
Painting with a broad brush, the ‘standard’ model of empathy is still that A imagines being in B’s circumstances (possibly taking on, in imagination, some of B’s dispositions) and runs B’s beliefs ‘off line’. This results in A generating, within themselves, some affective state which they then attribute to B. For example, Bill’s dog has died and Anna runs Bill’s beliefs offline, feels sorrow, and attributes that sorrow to Bill. What, on this picture, is the object of Anna’s emotion? If it is Bill, that leaves the dog out of the picture and if it is the dog, that leaves Bill out of the picture. I will argue that the standard model can account for the phenomenology of the empathic emotion, or the object of empathic emotion, but not both. The conclusion is sympathetic to models of empathy that do not require an act of imagination.