An inspiring 15-minute talk by Carl Rogers about his development of the concept of empathy and some points about Gendlin’s role.

ethics of care ~ empathy with animals

‘Empathy with animals’: December 2015 note from Kathy McGuire
There is a book called Entangled Empathy by Prof. Lori Gruen about empathy with animals but a larger philosophy about an ethics of care
Entangled Empathy: An Alternative Ethic for Our Relationships with Animals
Lori Gruen Lantern Books 

Edwin Rutsch You can get a lot of the Entangled Empathy concepts by watching Lori’s  videos.  

“The most interesting part of the book to me is the comparison of an ethics of justice and an ethics of empathy and the different premises they are build on.Contrasting an ‘Ethics of Justice’ and an ‘Ethics of Empathy/Care’ direct link

And here is a book review:  Feeling into Action by Colin Dayan
Quotes and references from the book review:

“How can we inhabit and write about the creatures we dominate and describe beyond “an anthropocentric perspective?” That is the question asked by Cary Wolfe in What is Posthumanism? (2009) and Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in a Biopolitical Frame (2012) but most urgently by Anat Pick in her ardent Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film(2011)”.

“Donna Haraway’s groundbreaking When Species Meet (2008)”.

“The late M. H. Abrams assessed literary production from the eighteenth century to the nineteenth as a move from the mirror of mimesis to the lamp of imagination. I propose that we consider the twenty-first century not as a progression from one mode of human creativity to another, but rather as movement to and fro between the nonhuman and human animal, between humanity and animality. Entangled Empathy revivifies this alternation, while bringing to the fore the way empathy, once entangled, becomes quite distinct from sympathy. Again, Gruen deftly bridges the gap between imitation and the move to feel with and feel into animals. She turns toward an attentive or empathetic identification with the nonhuman, what Lauren Wispé in an article in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (1986) calls “a kind of animism.”

“J. M. Coetzee first staged something like this encounter in 1999’s The Lives of Animals; in that same year in Disgrace; and then, less subtly, in Elizabeth Costello(2003). The argument continues. Gruen’s ethics finds its persuasive power through what is fraught, visceral, and tenuous: the adamantly not reasonable, enlightened, or morally empowered. As such it confronts the prevailing ethics of reasonable care or compassion.“

More on ethics of care from Kathy McGuire
Again, I have not had time to read professor Gruen’s book, but the distinction between an ethics of justice and an ethics of care resonates with the distinction I follow in my paper, The Body As A Source Of Knowledge, made by Harvard professor Carol Gilligan back in the 1970s.

Working with Lawrence Kohlberg on his scale measuring the development of ethics, which consistently found that women did not rise to the highest levels of ethical development, Gilligan discovered it was because women in general were operating upon a different continuum, one which she measured with a scale for the development of morality.

She saw that women’s decision-making was contextual rather than rule-bound, a consideration of the impact of the decision upon all the people and relationships involved rather than the application of ethical rules.

You can find my paper and how I relate all of this to empathy and Gendlin’s experiential theory and Focusing at

As a girl, I loved to ride horses because I felt that we were in total empathic communication through our bodies. I will not be surprised to find in reading Gruen’s book that women and horses and other animals have a lot in common in not being fully understood by the larger cultural milieu!

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