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How do we enter into empathic relations with inanimate objects (IO)? Do we indirectly infer that they possess mental states, or directly perceive them as mental things? In recent years these questions have been addressed by a number of authors. Some argue in favor of an indirect approach that involves mediatory procedures; others defend a direct approach that postulates no intermediate. In this paper, I argue on the side of the latter. I show that all indirect versions have been proposed so far namely Simulation Theory (ST), Imaginative Perception and Motor Imagining suffer some sort of shortcomings. In contrast with these indirect approaches, I develop a phenomenologically inspired framework for empathy, according to which the scope of objects with which we can enter into empathic relations is broadened to include IO. I argue that this direct framework is a more promising way of addressing the problem of empathic engagement with IO.
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