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Thread: as generous of spirit as empathy

  1. #1
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    as generous of spirit as empathy

    Hi, everyone:

    It's not surprising that animals far less complex than we are would display a trait that's as generous of spirit as empathy, particularly if you decide there's no spirit involved in it at all. Behaviorists often reduce what we call empathy to a mercantile business known as reciprocal altruism.

    Could you explain to me the meaning of ”as generous of spirit as empathy“?

    Best wishes

  2. #2
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    Re: as generous of spirit as empathy

    The animals in question display the trait of empathy, a trait that the writer describes as being "generous of spirit."
    Last edited by bibliolept; 25th November 2007 at 10:26 AM. Reason: typo
    There's what we expect bears to do and then there's what they do. Sometimes the two don't match. - Joe Clark, wildlife ecologist

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    Re: as generous of spirit as empathy

    Thank you, Bibliloept.
    But, I think "far less complesx" and "to display a trait that's generous of spirit as emphathy" are contradictory, thus it should be "surprising" to us.
    :-)

  4. #4
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    Re: as generous of spirit as empathy

    Yes, until you read the rest of the passage. The writer is saying that it is not surprising if you consider empathy to be only 'reciprocal altruism'

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    Re: as generous of spirit as empathy

    Quote Originally Posted by hly2004 View Post
    Hi, everyone:

    It's not surprising that animals far less complex than we are would display a trait that's as generous of spirit as empathy, particularly if you decide there's no spirit involved in it at all. Behaviorists often reduce what we call empathy to a mercantile business known as reciprocal altruism.

    Could you explain to me the meaning of ”as generous of spirit as empathy“?

    Best wishes
    The debate is whether animals have a spirit. Some people say that animals don't have a spirit, so they cannot therefore possess empathy.
    NZF

  6. #6
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    Re: as generous of spirit as empathy

    The passage says 'a trait as generous of spirit as empathy' and then goes on to say that what is seen as empathy has nothing to do with generosity - that it is purely self-interest and even animals can demonstrate it.
    In this case the argument about whether animals have spirit is entirely beside the point.

  7. #7
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    Re: as generous of spirit as empathy

    Thank you all:-)

  8. #8
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    Re: as generous of spirit as empathy

    Quote Originally Posted by hly2004 View Post
    It's not surprising that animals far less complex than we are would display a trait that's as generous of spirit as empathy, particularly if you decide there's no spirit involved in it at all. Behaviorists often reduce what we call empathy to a mercantile business known as reciprocal altruism.
    My contribution:

    It's not surprising that you'd believe animals would seem to display emotions and understanding that appear to make them like us (more human-like) - especially when you accept the fact that what you're witnessing doesn't involve any kind of spirit at all.

    They're saying here that you may think you're seeing the animals show feeelings, but once you accept the fact that it's an illusion you're seeing, you'll be able to intellectually find the reason it looks this way.

    First, we must accept the truth that there's no spirit involved at all in the animal world. They're telling us it's a fantasy to believe this.

    Why?

    Because the so-called experts in this field have decided that this "emotional bond" our animals seem to form with us is nothing more than a mirrored response to what we're sending out to them.

    It's become a popularized notion that they "feel" as we humans feel. But it's our mistake to interpret their reactions to us in "human" terms.

    I think the addition of the word "mercantile" is a cynical comment geared to the billion-dollar industry surrounding the care and nurturing of our pets, and how we don't hesitate to spend lots of money on these animals we've convinced ourselves are more than they really are.

    (I wish there was a snorting smiley available to post here.)

    hly, I agree with you and read this hogwash exactly as you have understood it!

    (Sorry...hogwash is my personal opinion of this so-called expert opinion.)

    AngelEyes
    Last edited by AngelEyes; 25th November 2007 at 3:25 PM.

  9. #9
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    Re: as generous of spirit as empathy

    I've got it, Thank you, Bibliolept, Suehil, Nzfauna, AngelEyes
    Especially thanks to AngelEyes for your very detailed and great explanation and analysis.
    :-)
    Last edited by hly2004; 25th November 2007 at 4:34 PM.

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