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The Mirror-Neuron Paradox: How Far is Sympathy from Compassion, Indulgence, and Adulation?

Khalil, Elias (2007): The Mirror-Neuron Paradox: How Far is Sympathy from Compassion, Indulgence, and Adulation?

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Abstract

Mirror neurons become instigated when the spectator empathizes with the principal’s intention. But when they involve imitation, empathy (understanding) is irrelevant. While understanding may attenuate the principal’s emotion, imitation escalates it. A solution of the contradictory attenuation/escalation pathways of fellow-feeling is to distinguishing two axes: “rationality axis” concerns whether the action is efficient or suboptimal; “intentionality axis” concerns whether the intention is wellbeing or evil. The solution shows how group solidarity differs from altruism and fairness; how revulsion differs from squeamishness; how sympathy differs from adulation; how evil differs from selfishness; and how racial hatred differs from racial segregation.

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