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 ToK Question #2

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Number of posts : 1
Age : 28
Registration date : 2007-05-03

PostSubject: Re: ToK Question #2   Thu May 03, 2007 9:51 am

Admin wrote:
Can empathy be taught? Can passion for a cause be taught?

bounce hello this is vanessa!!!!! sunny sunny

Before answering the question, I think we have to be clear what "empathy" means. cyclops The definition from Cambridge Dictionary is "the ability to share someone else's feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in their situation". So being empathetic does not necessarily mean feeling sorry about others' suffering (like most people would assume), it can also mean sharing other people's happiness.

Anyway, in response to this question, I think empathy can be taught to a certain extend. Without the exact same experience, empathy can only be generated through imaginations. For example, I would empathize with people that are suffering from hunger, even though I have never really experienced hunger before. Because I have the experience of not getting food for one whole day, and it didn't feel good. I would imagine if that situation becomes consistent in my life, how I would feel. In this case, imagination generates empathy.

However, I don't think empathy can go beyond imagination without going through the same situation. It's impossible to actually "put ourselves in other shoes". I was listening to a speech given by volunteer in Columbia. The Columbia government was going to cancel the meal plans given to elementary school kids in order to save money. Then this volunteer protested by fasting. He suceeded afterall, but he said "in those days when I refused to eat, I never experienced hunger. Becasue I know, I can give up any moment and just walk into a restaurant and eat. I have hope. But those people that actually suffer from hunger, they can't, they don't have hope. I can never feel exactly what they felt."

In short, I think empathy can be taught/ generated through similar experience and imagination, but one can never feel exactly what others feel without the same experience.
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Registration date : 2007-05-03

PostSubject: Re: ToK Question #2   Thu May 03, 2007 12:19 pm

i absolutely agree with vanessa on the point of "without the exat same experience, empathy can only be generated through imaginations". and we all know that imaginations are not reliable. our empathy will not be the same if real life experiences are not included in our imagination.

in tok class we talked about how emotiosn are "Experience addition to knowledge". as some of the girls have mentioned above, knowledge to an issue and situation will also help to develop that empathy. without knowledge, we find out more about however, i still believe that in order to have full true empathy, real life personal experiences are ultimately essential.
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Registration date : 2007-04-25

PostSubject: Re: ToK Question #2   Thu May 10, 2007 6:58 am

i don' t think empathy can be taught. not physically like a subject anyways. not like you teach someone science or maths. but from a very young age you can be influenced into being empathetic with ohters.

the same goes for teaching someone passion for a subject. you cannot teach someone to enjoy a subjet like you would teach them mathematics, giving them formulas and expect them to follow those set formulae. It's like the SAT guidebooks. stupid books all of them. don't teach you one word of the subjects, just give you tips on how to pass the exams.

You can however influence someone to enjoy a subject. you can show them the interesting bits of the subjects, the challenges it gives you, the satisfaction you get when you solve a particular problem in that subject and that sort of helps someone to stat getting interesed in that subject. but you can't give them set formulas on how yto get them to enjoy the subject because that will just not work!

okay i sound very woolly because i just came back from camping in the bushes and i feel very sick at the moment.
bye for now!
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Registration date : 2007-05-10

PostSubject: Re: ToK Question #2   Thu May 10, 2007 7:04 am

I personally do not think that empathy can be taught to anyone the way subjects such as chemistry and physics are taught at schools and institutions. I feel that empathy is such a thing that needs to come naturally to some one. I believe that it is ones past life experiences and upbringing that are the main contributors of his or her way of empathizing.

I also believe that passion for anything definitely cannot be taught to anyone. However, i do believe that by telling somone the positive side of something you can to a certain extenct influence their minds which could change their perspective of something.
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