Philosophical Psychology 32 (4):508-531 (2019)

ABSTRACTDespite being held in something approaching universal esteem for its capacity to promote prosocial behavior and inhibit antisocial behavior, empathy has recently become the recipient of strong criticism from some of today’s leading academics. Two of the more high-profile criticisms of empathy have come from philosopher Jesse Prinz and psychologist Paul Bloom, each of whom challenges the view that empathy has an overall beneficial influence on human behavior. In this essay, I discuss the basis of their criticisms as well as why I am not compelled by their arguments to believe that empathy does more harm than good. In the process of responding to empathy’s critics, I discuss the important role that empathy plays in our moral lives. I argue that, rather than employing rational considerations to minimize the role that empathy plays in our moral and political judgments, such considerations are put to better use by expanding empathy when conducive to the common good and suppressing it when it opposes th...
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09515089.2019.1587911
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 53,666
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Against Empathy.Jesse Prinz - 2011 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (s1):214-233.
Power Changes How the Brain Responds to Others.Jeremy Hogeveen, Michael Inzlicht & Sukhvinder S. Obhi - 2014 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 143 (2):755-762.
Empathy, Justice, and Moral Behavior.Jean Decety & Jason M. Cowell - 2015 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 6 (3):3-14.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

How to Be a Proponent of Empathy.Yujia Song - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (3):437-451.
Empathy, Otherness, and Ethical Life: A Response to Frank Summers.John Riker - 2012 - Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 32 (4):246-250.
Is the Unity of Goodness and Beauty the Feature of the Confucian Aesthetics?Yi Wang & Fu Xiaowei - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 1:273-281.
Deconstructing Empathy.Raymond A. Mar - 2011 - Emotion Review 3 (1):113-114.
Review of Lou Agosta, Empathy in the Context of Philosophy.Gladys L. Portuondo - 2011 - Existenz. An International Journal in Philosophy, Religion, Politics, and the Arts 6:51-53.
Similarity Versus Familiarity: When Empathy Becomes Selfish.Elias L. Khalil - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (1):41-41.
Horace’s Trial and the Quarrel of the Cid.Antoine Soare - 2014 - Human and Social Studies 3 (1):78-99.
Empathy and Its Role in Morality.Meghan Masto - 2015 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 53 (1):74-96.


Added to PP index

Total views
23 ( #433,985 of 2,349,382 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #510,581 of 2,349,382 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes