[Paleopsych] empathy [was] Positive emotions and perceptual accuracy

Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Fri Feb 18 02:23:44 UTC 2005

No offense taken, Karen, you are a fascinating contributor to this 
listserv. Always interesting stuff.

In a sense you are right. All creatures may have empathy. But to feel 
empathy in another sentient creature requires something I don't possess, 
psychic abilities. I actually believe they (psychic abilities) exist, 
because after my interviews of near death experiencers, I found some 
pretty anomolous data. Rupert Sheldrake lives! So I infer empathy from 
actions. Technically, what the dog feels for my cat is compassion. If 
the cat is outside and the weather turns bad, the dog will pace and 
whine until I let her out. She goes out, collects the cat, and herds her 
in. So I infer empathy/compassion. Never seen a cat do anything like 
that. MY cat seems to specialize in bugging me when I am trying to write 
an email. Total lack of empathy for me. I pet her anyway. I have empathy 
for her. Dumb cat.

So what am I missing about feeling empathy in critters?
motley Ph.D.

K.E. wrote:

> I don't want to offend, I do want to say that empathy is felt. If you 
> don't see it then fine, I wouldn't expect that. If there are not 
> scientific tests that allow you to see it, I wouldn't expect that either.
> Science - doesn't have the ability to test for everything - ALL 
> animals is a pretty huge statement I agree, however we can't KNOW that 
> they don't have it on some level.
> k
> (aka motley crew of - highly- unclassified people)
> At 12:13 AM 2/17/2005, you wrote:
>> Well, many mammals seem to have empathy. I do not think that reptiles 
>> have empathy nor fish. I have not seen empathy in cows, but some in 
>> horses. My Lab retriever has empathy for our cat, and the cat hates 
>> the dog. I have not seen empathy in cats. No offense intended, you 
>> cat lovers. Your examples are mostly chimps, and certainly they have 
>> empathy. The bird studies show intelligence but I don't see the 
>> empathy. Our bird has no empathy for anyone except the lovely bird 
>> behind the mirror. Empathy is likely a limbic / neocortex 
>> combination, bigger cortex, more empathy???. I suspect that animals 
>> living in groups would tend to develop empathy.
>> Lynn
>> K.E. wrote:
>>> All animals have empathy
>>> Non Human Animals Have Intelligence,
>>> Culture, Emotion, Compassion and Language
>>> http://www.wildlifeprotection.net/Cruelty/cruelty4.html
>>> karen
>>> <>~~~~~<>~~~~~<>~~~~~<>~~~~~<>~~~~~<>~~~~~<>~~~~~<>
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