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Psychologist Paul Bloom explains the problem with society's obsession with empathy, exploring its limitations while giving us useful alternatives.
by Paul Bloom
You might think, 'How can anyone be against empathy?' but if you really think about empathy, you might be surprised what it drives people to do. Empathy is an emotional response that allows us as humans to 'feel' what other people are going through. Empathy is not to be confused with sympathy, which is feeling for someone rather than with them. Because empathy is based on emotion, not logic, it doesn't always judge fairly. In Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion, Yale psychologist Paul Bloom argues that empathy doesn't always steer us in the right direction. Bloom is not calling for an abolishment of feeling for others, but he wants to help us realize that empathy is getting in the way of making the best decisions.
The problems we face as a society and as individuals are rarely due to lack of empathy. Actually, they are often due to too much of it.
- Paul Bloom
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