Our modern-day word for sympathy is derived from the classical Greek word for fellow-feeling. Both in the vernacular as well as in the various specialist literatures within philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, ecomics, and history, sympathy and empathy are routinely conflated. In practice, they are also used to refer to a large variety of complex, all-too-familiar social phemena: for example, simultaneous yawning or the giggles. Moreover, sympathy is invoked to address problems associated with social dislocation and political conflict. It is, then, turned into a vehicle toward generating harmony among otherwise isolated individuals and a way for them to fit into a larger whole, be it society and the universe. This volume offers a historical overview of some of the most significant attempts to come to grips with sympathy in Western thought from Plato to experimental ecomics. The contributors are leading scholars in philosophy, classics, history, ecomics, comparative literature, and po
Eric Schliesser is a philosopher with a wide variety of interests; he published extensively on seventeenth and eighteenth century science, metaphysics, and moral and political philosophy, including Newton, Spinoza, David Hume, Adam Smith, and Sophie de Grouchy; he also publishes regularly in philosophy of economics. At Ghent he has helped co-found an interdisciplinary research institute, the Complex Science Institute, with economists and physicists.