Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (s1):214-233 (2011)
AbstractEmpathy can be characterized as a vicarious emotion that one person experiences when reflecting on the emotion of another. So characterized, empathy is sometimes regarded as a precondition on moral judgment. This seems to have been Hume's view. I review various ways in which empathy might be regarded as a precondition and argue against each of them: empathy is not a component, a necessary cause, a reliable epistemic guide, a foundation for justification, or the motivating force behind our moral judgments. In fact, empathy is prone to biases that render it potentially harmful. Another construct—concern—fares somewhat better, but it is also of limited use. I argue that, instead of empathy, moral judgments involve emotions such as anger, disgust, guilt, and admiration. These, not empathy, provide the sentimental foundation for morality.
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References found in this work
A Treatise of Human Nature: Being an Attempt to Introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning Into Moral Subjects.David Hume & D. G. C. Macnabb (eds.) - 1738 - Collins.
A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
A Cognitive Developmental Approach to Morality: Investigating the Psychopath.R. Blair - 1995 - Cognition 57 (1):1-29.
Citations of this work
The Emotional Mind: The Affective Roots of Culture and Cognition.Stephen Asma & Rami Gabriel - 2019 - Harvard University Press.
Empathy and the Value of Humane Understanding.Olivia Bailey - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (1):50-65.
Virtual Reality and Empathy Enhancement: Ethical Aspects.Jon Rueda & Francisco Lara - 2020 - Frontiers in Robotics and AI 7.
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