1903 Lipps


Theodor Lipps
1851-1914 (German)
German Psychologist-Philosopher
a student of Wundt

Einfühlung - "transfers it to psychology in an attempt to explain how we discover that other people have selves"

The Ästhetik (1903-06) of Theodor Lipps is the most extensive analysis of empathy, Presented with a host of examples from the visual arts
Brings word form aesthetics to physiology
The act of projecting oneself into the object of a perception.
Story of circus performer (man on a high wire) you feel it.
Said, "when I observe a circus performer on a hanging wire, I feel I am inside him"


"It was however Theodor Lipps (1851–1914) who scrutinized empathy in the most thorough manner. Most importantly, Lipps not only argued for empathy as a concept that is central for the philosophical and psychological analysis of our aesthetic experiences. His work transformed empathy from a concept of philosophical aesthetics into a central category of the philosophy of the social and human sciences. For him, empathy not only plays a role in our aesthetic appreciation of objects. It has also to be understood as being the primary basis for recognizing each other as minded creatures. Not surprisingly, it was Lipps's conception of empathy that Titchener had in mind in his translation of “Einfühlung” as “empathy.”"(Stueber 2014) Stueber, Karsten, "Empathy", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)

Lipps, T., 1903a. “Einfühlung, Innere Nachahmung und Organempfindung,” Archiv für gesamte Psychologie 1: 465–519. (Translated as “Empathy, Inner Imitation and Sense-Feelings,” in A Modern Book of Esthetics, 374–382. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979).

1903b. Aesthetik, vol. 1. Hamburg: Voss Verlag.
1905. Aesthetik, vol. 2. Hamburg: Voss Verlag.
1906. “Einfühlung und Ästhetischer Genuß,” Die Zukunft, 16: 100–114.
1907. “Das Wissen von Fremden Ichen,” Psychologische Untersuchungen, 1: 694–722.
1912/13. “Zur Einfühlung,” Psychologische Untersuchungen, 2: 111–491.



"in Paris, Lipps was in Munich working on his theory of empathy and aesthetic enjoyment. In his seminal paper on the subject he identified the four types of empathy as he saw them:
  • general apperceptive empathy: when one sees movement in everyday objects; 
  • empirical empathy: when one sees human qualities in the nonhuman; 
  • mood empathy: when one attributes emotional states to colors and music, like “cheerful yellow”; and 
  • sensible appearance empathy: when gestures or movements convey internal feelings."
The Invention of Empathy: Rilke, Rodin, and the Art of “Inseeing”  BY MARIA POPOVA




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