Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Edith Stein's Phenomenology of Empathy: Understanding the Psychic Life of Others

Dr. Patricia Bowen-Moore.

I apply the phenomenological methodology to Edith Stein's analysis of empathy and explicate the scope and limitations of empathy.
Stein employs the Husserl's epoche to examine empathy as a phenomenon. She defines empathy as the given -ness of foreign subjects and their experiences." [Edith Stein: On the Problem of Empathy. Trs. by Waltraut Stein, PhD. in The Collected Works of Edith Stein Third Revision Edition, Washington, D.C., 1989. p.xviii) A "foreign subject" is to be understood as a person or living being other than you. This includes other human beings, animals, and vegetative life. It may also include literary figures.
Stein speaks of empathy as the "experience of being led by foreign experiences." This direction occurs on three levels: (a) The emergence of the experience itself; (b) The fulfilling explication of it; and (c) the comprehensive objectification of the explained experience. Her phenomenological description aids us in distinguishing among empathy, sympathy, and a feeling of oneness


Dr. Patricia Bowen-Moore  (United States)
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy College of Arts and Sciences
Nazareth College of Rochester NY

I am a wife and mother (12 year old son). I am presently the Chair of the Department of Philosophy. I am the author of HANNAH ARENDT'S PHILOSOPHY of NATALITY, St. Martin's Press, 1989.

  • Edith Stein
  • Phenomenology
  • Empathy
Person as Subject
  • Stein, Edith

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)