So, first exposing prejudices. This is why I kept the question so broad as I did. [question of empathy vs thinking]

a) I’m measuring people’s prejudices regarding empathy and thinking. We all carry certain ideas about what empathy is and what it isn’t, how it can be defined and how it cannot. If it exists and it doesn’t.

My first priority, in short, is gathering opinions.

Empathy (as with thinking) can be measured in a number of ways.

There’s levels of “brain chems” as it were.

There’s “brain scans” and a number of hypothesis.

There’s behavioral.

There’s common usage.

There’s dictionary definitions.

There’s the Age of Reason-stye (“Empathy is a (part of) a set of thing we refer to as emotions, which are divided from and distinct from, what we refer to as Reason, which is ruled by Logic and not by items in the family of what we call Emotion, which is not Rational”). [my paraphrase]

etc.

So, first exposing prejudices. This is why I kept the question so broad as I did.

I’ll stay with a) for a moment as I show you how my approach towards the question might be a little different. Not more correct, if correct at all: just different. Just a moment.

 

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My approach: I start simple. Common dictionary.

empathy
“the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”
Early 20th century, from Einfühlung – German.

Ok. It appears to be a word of modern origin.

think
“have a particular opinion, belief, or idea about someone or something.”
or
“direct one’s mind toward someone or something; use one’s mind actively to form connected ideas.”

Two common definitions. There’s others. I happen to know from prior research that “think” is precisely related to “thing” and a “thing” is an assembly of people who meet secretly to debate issues of importance and come out with a result. So a “thing” is a kind of meeting. A “think”, likewise.

Makes sense that “an assembly” –> thing/think. I believe it’s Germanic, medieval.

So, that’s where I start my investigation. Common dictionary. From there, I pull from the Common to the less common.

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Speculation: Interestingly, via the common definition, empathy does not appear to have much in common with thinking at all nor thinking with empathy at first, but it commonly has both direct connections and *implied* connections:

Implied connection:
ABILITY. Empathy is an ability. Thinking implies ability because it is something you “have” or “direct mind-towards”

Direct connection:
Empathy:
“the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”

Think:
“direct one’s mind toward someone or something; use one’s mind actively to form connected ideas.”

This definition of “think” is like empathy. “Directing mind towards” and “ability to understand the feeling of another” are _very_ similar.

Thinking is orientation.
Empathy is orientation.

Thinking is an internal “gathering” without guarantee of conclusion..
Empathy is an internal gathering with a guarantee of conclusion (understanding)

Thinking does not require output.
Empathy requires output (share)

Thinking is implied within empathy.
Empathy is not implied within thinking.

So this is speculation on potential connection points, simply based upon some common definitions.

But of course one can go deeper still.

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However, even stopping at commonly understood dictionary definitions, there is enough information to make a connection to link together empathy and thinking:Skill to Orient:

In a graph, the X axis could indicate Thinking Ability. “How much can you orient your mind TOWARDS someone WITHOUT understanding feelings.

The Y axis could indicate Empathy Ability: “How much can you orient your mind TOWARDS someone WITH understanding feelings?”

So, it is possible to graph “With and Without” feeling ability chart – a basic sociopathy measurement, without even going very deeply into further distinctions.

Thinking *can* have empathy but it does not require it.
Empathy *requires* thinking.

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