Showing posts from February, 2017

Against Empathy

My grandfather died last week.  A couple days before that my aunt had a heart scare.  And on Friday morning my wife and I went to the sentencing of the man who sexually assaulted her.  None of these things made me cry.  Instead, I cry when I see characters do things that show great compassion for others in shows and books.  What is wrong with me?  Well, lots of things.  But I found this book to be very comforting when asking myself about my feelings concerning the way I react to the pain of those I love.  

Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion by Paul Bloom is a fascinating book.  I feel the need to apologize for the clickbait title, but the substance of the book actually mostly warrants it.   

The fundamental move Bloom is making is the disentanglement of empathy into two distinct concepts, and to remove both of those from the concept of compassion.  So, empathy can be cognitive.  That’s just the a…