Mark Fagiano is a philosophy professor at Washington State
University who specializes in American pragmatism and ethics. Mark is the
founder of Empathy Vision, which offers empathy-activation solutions
through seminars, workshops, and online courses. He is author of
Practicing Empathy: Pragmatism and the Value of Relations.
Grounded in the philosophical tradition of American Pragmatism, Mark's
approach demonstrates the practical benefits of adopting a broad and
pluralistic understanding of empathy as both an idea and a practice.
In this dialogue, we discuss Mark's
relational definition of empathy and discuss each chapter of his book
in-depth. We also discuss how the
Empathy Circle practice fits into his definition.
1. Empathy and Pluralism 2. Pathos and the Death of Dualisms
3. Empathic Projections - Feeling Into
4. Empathic Connections - Feeling With 5.
Empathic Care - Feeling For 6. Is Empathy Moral? 7. Can Empathy Be Developed? 8. Empathic Democracy as a Way of Life
"There is widespread disagreement over what constitutes an experience of
empathy. In this study of its value and moral features, Mark Fagiano
acknowledges the ambiguity surrounding the term and offers a unified
theory of empathy that includes rival definitions.
His historical account of the multiple meanings of empathy lays the
groundwork for a new philosophical theory. Based on relations, it
resolves the problem of conflicting definitions of empathy by
distinguishing between the three kinds of empathy: the relations of
feeling into, feeling with, and feeling for, each of which has been
defined historically as a type of empathy. Fagiano's unique focus on
relations, on the modes and manner by which we are connected with things
and with people, reveals a transactional account of empathy that can be
applied to a variety of different contexts and social circumstances.
Grounded in the philosophical tradition of American Pragmatism,
Fagiano's approach demonstrates the practical benefits of adopting a
broad and pluralistic understanding of empathy as both an idea and a
practice. His pragmatic and contextualist philosophy of empathy provides
a valuable starting point for answering some of the most pressing
questions surrounding empathy today, including can empathy be developed?
Is empathy moral? What is the difference between empathy and sympathy?"
Articles and Videos
What is Relational Empathy?
Relational Empathy is a pluralistic learning approach for teaching empathy that
draws from and incorporates different understanding of empathy as they have
been articulated in the disciplines of aestheticism, psychology, primatology,
philosophy, medical ethics, and neuroscience. The theory of relational empathy
was constructed for the purpose of creating a broad and inclusive perspective
of empathy suitable for changing habits of behavior and transforming
"This work explains the practical benefits of a new and pluralistic notion of
empathy that I call relational
Rather than defining empathy as a thing or an activity, as most scholars have
done, I define empathy as a set of three conceptually distinct though
experientially overlapping relations: the relations of feeling into, feeling
with, and feeling for. I then turn to historical discourses about empathy from
the late 1700s to the present to demonstrate how different conceptualizations
and definitions of empathy during this time span are descriptions of one, two
or all three of these relations.
then explain how relational empathy has the potential both to dissolve mere
verbal disputes about what empathy is and to shift our attention away from
narrowly conceived theories about the ‘nature’ of empathy and toward more
practical concerns. Finally, I explain how my theory of relational empathy can
help to resolve a number of problems throughout the healthcare system."
The Real Difference between Empathy and Sympathy: Part One
"Type "the difference between empathy and sympathy" into a search engine and
you will find a host of differing opinions. Actually, don't do that.
There is no "real," single difference between #empathy and #sympathy (sorry
about the joke), but there are many differences between these notions.
Let's start with one similarity: each term is a social construct and people,
over time, construct the meaning of terms for their own aims, interests, and
The Future of Empathy Chapter One
April 30, 2018
"What Is Empathy?
Now, in which part of this story did you experience empathy? According to a
very common way of thinking about it today, you experienced empathy only when
you took the perspectives of the victims. People often refer to empathy in
this way, as “walking in another’s shoes” or “living under another’s skin,”
each of which signifies a mode of empathy commonly called empathic
perspective-taking: an imaginative simulation of another’s experiences. But
there are two types of perspective-taking, and these are sometimes conflated.
For example, you can imagine how you (as you) would think and feel about a
given situation if you were the other person or you can take another person’s
perspective by imagining how that person thinks and feels about his/her
situation. C. Daniel Batson refers to this first option as imagine-self
perspective and the second as imagine-other perspective."
Carl Rogers’ (1902-1987) definition of empathy is different from that of
Theodor Lipps (1851-1914), each of which are different from Robert Vischer’s
(1847-1933) description of empathy, and all three of these theorists'
definitions are quite unlike the way Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803)
defined it. Definitions of empathy change, and every scholar of empathy
is well aware of this fact. These multiple ways of explaining empathy
create a problem, namely: accepting one definition over another breeds
conceptual confusion and disagreement about our experiences, and a consequence
of this is the emergence of inconsequential verbal disputes. "
Empathy in Healthcare: Good for the Body and Good for Your Bottom Line.
May 9, 2016
"The habitual practice of empathy among healthcare professionals is widely
accepted as crucial for delivering high quality healthcare, producing
successful medical outcomes, developing a culture around patient-centered
care, and helping an organization to exceed its bottom line goals. An
organization's ability to produce consistently these four positive outcomes is
contingent upon an its capacity to overcome a number of significant and
pressing problems. For example:"
Section 1: Introduction to the Purpose, Aim, and
Structure of this Course
Section 2: What is Empathy?
Section 3: Empathy as Feeling-into
Section 4: Empathy as Feeling-with
Section 5: Empathy as Feeling-for
Section 6: Part Two: Empathy and the Seven Dynamics of Flourishing