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Self-Affection and Perspective-Taking: The Role of Phantasmatic and Imaginatory Consciousness for Empathy

  • Thiemo BreyerEmail author


This article distinguishes between several modifications of perception and perspective-taking in order to grasp the relevance of phantasmatic and imaginatory consciousness for empathy. Drawing on insights from phenomenology, it tries to elucidate the complex process of empathically perceiving and understanding the other by looking at the structures of anticipation and fulfilment from the level of self-affection, to perceptual, personal, and narrative perspective-taking. Thereby, the problem of objectifying the personal background of the other in empathic transposition is addressed and the intertwinements of expectation-driven and stimulus-driven components of the empathic process are reviewed.


Self-affection Perspective-taking Phantasy Imagination Perception Empathy 



This study was not funded by any agency.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The Author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Research involving Human and Animal Participants

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the author.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of CologneCologneGermany

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