Summary of Against Empathy
AGAINST EMPATHY: The Case for Rational Compassion by Paul Bloom. Copyright © 2016 by Paul Bloom. Published by arrangement with Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
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Cognitive psychologist Paul Bloom believes “empathy” often causes more suffering than it cures. He leverages a heady, entertaining combination of philosophy, scientific research and anecdotes to argue that empathy-driven decisions frequently run counter to reason. They lead people to indulge their biases, justify violence and sacrifice the long-term good of the many for the short-term gains of the few. Bloom dismantles claims that favor empathy in several arenas, including charity, politics, medicine and parenthood. He offers a concurrent argument for “rational compassion.” getAbstract recommends his exegesis to forward-thinking humanitarians and those seeking a better understanding of the ethics of emotion, rationality and altruism.
In this summary, you will learn
- How “empathy” differs from “rational compassion,”
- Why empathy is a poor basis for decision making and
- How unchecked empathy causes harm.
About the Author
Paul Bloom, PhD, is the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale University. His research focuses on moral psychology, child development and social reasoning. His previous books include Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil.
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