UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

A conceptual look at empathy: implications for moral education Jeffers, Elizabeth W.


Drawing on current educational, psychological and philosophical literature, this thesis addresses the diversity of the meaning of the term empathy as used in the literature and the consequences that emphasizing some meamngs over others may have for moral education. Making sense of the conceptual confusion is of utmost importance to educators in terms of what they can legitimately pursue in attempting to cultivate and increase empathic understanding in students. The meanings of the term serve as a basis for an analysis of the concept and the development of a new conception of empathy-one specifically developed for moral education. If the concept of empathy is to go beyond our ordinary language use to be of significant use in an education aimed at promoting respect for others, it must be specified that having empathic receptions involves taking the humanity of another seriously. Empathy, as this notion is developed and justified throughout the thesis, involves seeing others as fully human and having a genuine concern for the welfare of others. This conception which includes these compassionate dispositions is further developed and justified to provide a basis for future empirical research on the acquisition of empathy among children and for the production of appropriate ways to develop empathic understanding in students.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.