Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion by Paul Bloom

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Read Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion Online Free - New York Post Best Book of 2016

We often think of our capacity to experience the suffering of others as the ultimate source of goodness. Many of our wisest policy-makers, activists, scientists, and philosophers agree that the only problem with empathy is that we don’t have enough of it.

Nothing could be farther from the truth, argues Yale researcher Paul Bloom. In AGAINST EMPATHY, Bloom reveals empathy to be one of the leading motivators of inequality and immorality in society. Far from helping us to improve the lives of others, empathy is a capricious and irrational emotion that appeals to our narrow prejudices. It muddles our judgment and, ironically, often leads to cruelty. We are at our best when we are smart enough not to rely on it, but to draw instead upon a more distanced compassion.

Basing his argument on groundbreaking scientific findings, Bloom makes the case that some of the worst decisions made by individuals and nations—who to give money to, when to go to war, how to respond to climate change, and who to imprison—are too often motivated by honest, yet misplaced, emotions. With precision and wit, he demonstrates how empathy distorts our judgment in every aspect of our lives, from philanthropy and charity to the justice system; from medical care and education to parenting and marriage. Without empathy, Bloom insists, our decisions would be clearer, fairer, and—yes—ultimately more moral.

Brilliantly argued, urgent and humane, AGAINST EMPATHY shows us that, when it comes to both major policy decisions and the choices we make in our everyday lives, limiting our impulse toward empathy is often the most compassionate choice we can make.

Title : Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0062339338
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 pages


Darwin8u rated it ★★★☆☆

July 28, 2017

"Empathy is what makes us human; it's what makes us both subjects and objects of moral concern. Empathy betrays us only when we take it as a moral guide." - Paul Bloom, Against Empathy I'm a sucker for pop psychology or moral philosophy or moral politics books. Kinda my jam. I'm also a fan of books...

Moshe rated it ★★★★☆

February 18, 2018

"Against Empathy" does a nice job summarizing all the limitations of empathy, and our altruistic drives more generally, such as being nicer to our kin and neighbors, and being especially prone to newsworthy suffering and insensitive to numbers, scale, and efficacy. Paul rightly points out that ou...

Holly rated it ★★★★☆

April 17, 2017

Bloom is not really against empathy as in kindness, compassion, other-regard. He's against a kind of empathy that is short-sighted, selfish (as in simple self-regard), that stops us from thinking and using our moral conscience. When he discusses compassion it's in the context of "cognitive empath...

Joachim rated it ★★★☆☆

February 05, 2017

This was not a very clear, graspable, usable book. There are lots of valid points here and he uses a flood of empirical data. But while he says he hates endless discussions about connotations, I found the explanation and meaning of the title all about linguistic nuance. I actually find the title a...

Leo rated it ★★☆☆☆

March 17, 2018

I first stumbled on Yale developmental psychologist Paul Bloom reading a New Yorker editorial called The Baby In the Well: The case against empathy . It was an interesting dissection of empathy. Not because it's bad, but because it forces people into crappy decisions. For instance, people across...

Ceil rated it ★★☆☆☆

December 17, 2016

Really wanted to like this book, having long suspected that "I feel your pain" is part of an anti-logic, anti-rational trend that glorifies individual feelings above all. Aside from setting up some useful distinctions (empathy v compassion, etc.), the author muses at length on examples of linguis...

Jennifer rated it ★★★★☆

February 06, 2017

I saw the title of this book and I had to read it. I mean, who could be opposed to empathy? Does he want us to stop being nice to each other? The subtitle of the book offers a clue: Bloom would prefer us to be compassionate in more rational ways. When we 'put ourselves in others' shoes,' which is...

Charlene rated it ★★★★★

February 21, 2017

Absolutely BRILLIANT! This is a must read for anyone interested in things like: decision-making empathy ingroup/outgroup dynamics policy making social constructs inequality logic v. emotional regulation on a grand scale Why out of 293 Goodreads reviews does this book only have a 3.75? I can't say for su...

Wayland rated it ★★☆☆☆

October 25, 2017

The author makes some interesting arguments about how empathy can lead public policy, and personal decisions, astray. It's written a bit dryly, and he goes through a few contortions with some of his logic at times. The short version is he more or less seems to think people should be a bit more Vu...

Ryan rated it ★★★★☆

February 08, 2017

I once gave a presentation entitled something like "Generating Empathetic Responses Through Cognitive Role Taking in Writing." I asked my audience, all teachers like me, how many of us assumed developing empathy in others was a good thing. All hands rose. I agreed with my audience that empathy is...

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