1908, modeled on German Einfühlung (from ein "in" + Fühlung "feeling"), which was coined 1858 by German philosopher Rudolf Lotze (1817-1881) as a translation of Greek empatheia "passion, state of emotion," from assimilated form of en "in" (see en- (2)) + pathos "feeling" (from PIE root *kwent(h)- "to suffer"). A term from a theory of art appreciation that maintains appreciation depends on the viewer's ability to project his personality into the viewed object.
Not only do I see gravity and modesty and pride and courtesy and stateliness, but I feel or act them in the mind's muscles. This is, I suppose, a simple case of empathy, if we may coin that term as a rendering of Einfühlung; there is nothing curious or idiosyncratic about it; but it is a fact that must be mentioned. [Edward Bradford Titchener, "Lectures on the Experimental Psychology of the Thought Processes," 1909]
... there is no doubt that the facts are new and that they justify their name: the art work is a thing of "empathy" (Titchener, Ward), of "fellow feeling" (Mitchell), of "inner sympathy" (Groos), of "sympathetic projection" (Urban), of "semblance of personality" (Baldwin), all terms suggested by different writers as renderings of the German Einfühlung. ["The American Yearbook," 1911]
updated on November 10, 2017