Is Ahab really the unempathetic creature he is often made out to be? We view his tyrannical, yet frequently avoidant, behavior through the lens of Mirror-Touch Synesthesia, a condition in which individuals experience tactile sensations when observing touch to others. Unlike developmental Mirror-Touch Synesthesia, where such sensations occur in the corresponding body part, in acquired Mirror-Touch Synesthesia after amputation, they occur strictly in the missing limb. Both versions are associated with increased emotional, yet typical cognitive, empathy. Our aim is to provide a more generous account of Ahab’s physiological predicament and to draw attention to how Melville uses a range of phantom phenomena to rethink relations between self and Other.

Phantom empathy: Ahab and mirror-touch synesthesia

pilar martinez benedi
;
2022

Abstract

Is Ahab really the unempathetic creature he is often made out to be? We view his tyrannical, yet frequently avoidant, behavior through the lens of Mirror-Touch Synesthesia, a condition in which individuals experience tactile sensations when observing touch to others. Unlike developmental Mirror-Touch Synesthesia, where such sensations occur in the corresponding body part, in acquired Mirror-Touch Synesthesia after amputation, they occur strictly in the missing limb. Both versions are associated with increased emotional, yet typical cognitive, empathy. Our aim is to provide a more generous account of Ahab’s physiological predicament and to draw attention to how Melville uses a range of phantom phenomena to rethink relations between self and Other.
978-1-5179-0754-9
978-1-5179-0755-6
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11697/177252
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