Empathy … it’s your choice

Some think empathy is not a very good guide to moral decisions. Psychologists Daryl Cameron, Michael Inzlicht, and William A. Cunningham disagree. They think we can choose to feel empathy when we want to. “Arguments against empathy rely on an outdated view of emotion as a capricious beast that needs to yield to sober reason. Yes, there are many situations in which empathy appears to be limited in its scope, but this is not a deficiency in the emotion itself. In our view, empathy is only as limited as we choose it to be.”

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One thought on “Empathy … it’s your choice

  1. I’m always amazed when people discuss emotions as if they are delineated and well defined ‘things’. The definition of empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another

    so, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another is not a good guide to moral behaviors?

    moral implies conformity to established sanctioned codes or accepted notions of right and wrong

    When two people are alone in the forest the accepted notions of right and wrong heavily depend on the ability of each to understand and share the feelings of the other. At every edge case I know of it is impossible to be moral and not also be empathetic unless you believe in a moral code that allows you to be immoral to others in the sense that you do not adhere to their moral code.

    Without empathy, morality is a Nuremberg defence. I followed my rules so fuck everyone else.

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