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Information Technology and International Relations: Using On Line, Interactive Simulations to Transcend Time, Space, and Attitudes
Unformatted Document Text:  steps by describing the Middle East diplomatic simulation; and it evaluates the participants’ responses. Empathy and Simulation Role Playing Political theorists have debated the fact-value dichotomy for years, with the pendulum swinging back and forth between the normative concern for values and the empirical desire for facts. What's been largely missing in this debate is the need to consider perceptions, a phenomenological approach to understanding political science, particularly international relations. If an Israeli decision maker really believes that Yasser Arafat controls Palestinian violence, that's the information the analyst must evaluate, the situation to which the policy maker must respond. If a member of Islamic Jihad believes his "human sacrifice" or suicide bombing furthers the cause of justice and provides him a secure place in paradise, these perceptions must be assessed. If a group of American policy makers believe an invasion of Iraq will bring democracy to the region, that’s what teachers and students must consider. Whether or not it is truth in fact or justice in value doesn't matter if it's in the mind of the actor. It’s the perception that the analyst must understand. Without this kind of inter-subjective insight, students will never fully comprehend the existing condition and evolving dynamic of international relations. Despite the importance of this concept in analyzing politics, there is little in the literature of political science about empathy. To understand the concept, we must explore the writing of psychology, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Wilhelm Dilthey introduced the term empathy (einfühlunz) at the end of the nineteenth century, using it to explain the division between nature and humanity. While the scientific method was useful in explaining the natural world, empathy was a means to understand and experience the human spirit. Karl Jaspers further refined the concept in 1913, arguing that some conditions may be explained using the methods of science while others are understood by having the observer put himself in the place of the observed (Etchefoyen 1996, 270-273). Freud wrote in 1921 that empathy “plays the largest part in our understanding of what is inherently foreign…in other people” (Freud 1923, 108). For Greenson, it involves “the emotional knowledge of the feelings of another, preconscious phenomena that helps us to understand the (other) in so far as it enables us to share his feelings.” This involves a delicate balance--the possibility of entering into the other's feelings without being over overwhelmed emotionally, playing the part of a participant observer (Greenson 1960, 418-424). Thus, empathic comprehension is a dynamic process. It invokes “one person's capacity to feel and understand what another feels” (Etchefoyen 1996, 271). Empathy may be defined as the ability of one individual to experience the values, feelings and perceptions of another. It is a concept directly related to simulations, an innovative and increasingly important method of teaching and learning, “the laboratories for political science” (Woodward and Gump 1994). Simulations are widely recognized as making students “active participants rather than passive observers” (Mckeachie 1994, 163); providing a positive effect on student motivation (Dekkers and Donatti 1981); and creating the opportunity for experiential

Authors: Stover, William.
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steps by describing the Middle East diplomatic simulation; and it evaluates the
participants’ responses.
Empathy and Simulation Role Playing

Political theorists have debated the fact-value dichotomy for years, with the pendulum
swinging back and forth between the normative concern for values and the empirical
desire for facts. What's been largely missing in this debate is the need to consider
perceptions, a phenomenological approach to understanding political science, particularly
international relations. If an Israeli decision maker really believes that Yasser Arafat
controls Palestinian violence, that's the information the analyst must evaluate, the
situation to which the policy maker must respond. If a member of Islamic Jihad believes
his "human sacrifice" or suicide bombing furthers the cause of justice and provides him a
secure place in paradise, these perceptions must be assessed. If a group of American
policy makers believe an invasion of Iraq will bring democracy to the region, that’s what
teachers and students must consider. Whether or not it is truth in fact or justice in value
doesn't matter if it's in the mind of the actor. It’s the perception that the analyst must
understand. Without this kind of inter-subjective insight, students will never fully
comprehend the existing condition and evolving dynamic of international relations.

Despite the importance of this concept in analyzing politics, there is little in the literature
of political science about empathy. To understand the concept, we must explore the
writing of psychology, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Wilhelm Dilthey introduced
the term empathy (einfühlunz) at the end of the nineteenth century, using it to explain the
division between nature and humanity. While the scientific method was useful in
explaining the natural world, empathy was a means to understand and experience the
human spirit. Karl Jaspers further refined the concept in 1913, arguing that some
conditions may be explained using the methods of science while others are understood by
having the observer put himself in the place of the observed (Etchefoyen 1996, 270-273).
Freud wrote in 1921 that empathy “plays the largest part in our understanding of what is
inherently foreign…in other people” (Freud 1923, 108). For Greenson, it involves “the
emotional knowledge of the feelings of another, preconscious phenomena that helps us to
understand the (other) in so far as it enables us to share his feelings.” This involves a
delicate balance--the possibility of entering into the other's feelings without being over
overwhelmed emotionally, playing the part of a participant observer (Greenson 1960,
418-424). Thus, empathic comprehension is a dynamic process. It invokes “one person's
capacity to feel and understand what another feels” (Etchefoyen 1996, 271).

Empathy may be defined as the ability of one individual to experience the values,
feelings and perceptions of another. It is a concept directly related to simulations, an
innovative and increasingly important method of teaching and learning, “the laboratories
for political science” (Woodward and Gump 1994).

Simulations are widely recognized as making students “active participants rather than
passive observers” (Mckeachie 1994, 163); providing a positive effect on student
motivation (Dekkers and Donatti 1981); and creating the opportunity for experiential


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