Do you think empathy is good for society? Watch

oliverxdineen
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Just read a book, that was a mix with phycology and philosophy, that put forward the idea that empathy is bad for individuals and society. Wanted to know what everyones thoughts are one the topic??
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Manunited4eva
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Yep as society would fall apart otherwise.
But I think too much empathy can be exploited by wicked predatory people.
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gjd800
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So what was the argument

Need more if I am gonna do anything with it
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Retired_Messiah
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Mmmm, very difficult to assess this when you've just dropped the conclusion of the argument without any of the actual argumentative content.
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oliverxdineen
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(Original post by gjd800)
So what was the argument

Need more if I am gonna do anything with it
The book is split into 3 main parts; empathy in society, empathy in individuals and finally looking at empathy from different clinal studies. On the societal aspect it argues that empathy is used as a spotlight for peoples cognative bias' and doesn't include the impacts of our actions in an action involving empathy, as well as any intrinsic value of a good. A recent example of this is how the daily mail is using the london bridge attack as a way of pushing draconian laws against offenders. They do they by exploiting empathy in the form of saying, imagine what it would be like to be a parent of one of the victims! However, they don't take into considerations on what the net benefit could be from releasing people early and integrating them into society. It obviously goes into more detail on this section.

On an individual level it kind of spews out the same rhetoric about how we shouldn't be more empathetic but more compassionate in our relationships and interacting with other people. One good example of this is how if you break your leg, you don't want someone to feel empathetic towards you and mirror your feelings. Instead you would want that person to calm you down and be compassionate.

I hope that gives you a good basis!
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gjd800
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(Original post by oliverxdineen)
The book is split into 3 main parts; empathy in society, empathy in individuals and finally looking at empathy from different clinal studies. On the societal aspect it argues that empathy is used as a spotlight for peoples cognative bias' and doesn't include the impacts of our actions in an action involving empathy, as well as any intrinsic value of a good. A recent example of this is how the daily mail is using the london bridge attack as a way of pushing draconian laws against offenders. They do they by exploiting empathy in the form of saying, imagine what it would be like to be a parent of one of the victims! However, they don't take into considerations on what the net benefit could be from releasing people early and integrating them into society. It obviously goes into more detail on this section.

On an individual level it kind of spews out the same rhetoric about how we shouldn't be more empathetic but more compassionate in our relationships and interacting with other people. One good example of this is how if you break your leg, you don't want someone to feel empathetic towards you and mirror your feelings. Instead you would want that person to calm you down and be compassionate.

I hope that gives you a good basis!
This sounds really cool actually! Do you have the name to hand?
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oliverxdineen
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(Original post by gjd800)
This sounds really cool actually! Do youI
It's called 'Against empathy' by Paul Bloom! Think you can get it on world of books for really cheap
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londonmyst
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It depends who the empathy is directed towards, how it is demonstrated and what the agenda is.

Demonstrating empathy towards a serial rapist rather than the victims, repeating the rapist's abusive rhetoric against women and agreeing with his attitude that sending him to prison is wrong because there are worse criminal in the world that have murdered people- this would be wrong.
Same with demonstrating empathy towards a neo-nazi terrorist murderer like David Copeland who bombed London targeting gay people and hoping to "cause a racial war in this country".
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aciana
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(Original post by oliverxdineen)
The book is split into 3 main parts; empathy in society, empathy in individuals and finally looking at empathy from different clinal studies. On the societal aspect it argues that empathy is used as a spotlight for peoples cognative bias' and doesn't include the impacts of our actions in an action involving empathy, as well as any intrinsic value of a good. A recent example of this is how the daily mail is using the london bridge attack as a way of pushing draconian laws against offenders. They do they by exploiting empathy in the form of saying, imagine what it would be like to be a parent of one of the victims! However, they don't take into considerations on what the net benefit could be from releasing people early and integrating them into society. It obviously goes into more detail on this section.

On an individual level it kind of spews out the same rhetoric about how we shouldn't be more empathetic but more compassionate in our relationships and interacting with other people. One good example of this is how if you break your leg, you don't want someone to feel empathetic towards you and mirror your feelings. Instead you would want that person to calm you down and be compassionate.

I hope that gives you a good basis!
Your first example with a journalist saying "Imagine what it would be like to be a parent of one of the victims" in order to gain an advantage with their socio-political ideology, sounds like how propaganda works and even a very empathetic person (if they are intelligent) can see past that highly charged emotive language and see the wider implications. When you talk about a broken leg, I would have thought empathy is what leads you to compassion. They are very linked ideas, almost the same thing.
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oliverxdineen
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(Original post by aciana)
Your first example with a journalist saying "Imagine what it would be like to be a parent of one of the victims" in order to gain an advantage with their socio-political ideology, sounds like how propaganda works and even a very empathetic person (if they are intelligent) can see past that highly charged emotive language and see the wider implications. When you talk about a broken leg, I would have thought empathy is what leads you to compassion. They are very linked ideas, almost the same thing.
I certainly don't agree that empathy leads to compassion. Compassion is simply kindness directed towards an individual, but empathy includes taking on the other person's emotions. The book talks about clinical studies which shows that people that use empathy compared to compassion in regard to a task perform less efficiently, as it clouds your reason. Although they are similiar, the difference is imperative when discussing the subject
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oliverxdineen
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(Original post by londonmyst)
It depends who the empathy is directed towards, how it is demonstrated and what the agenda is.

Demonstrating empathy towards a serial rapist rather than the victims, repeating the rapist's abusive rhetoric against women and agreeing with his attitude that sending him to prison is wrong because there are worse criminal in the world that have murdered people- this would be wrong.
Same with demonstrating empathy towards a neo-nazi terrorist murderer like David Copeland who bombed London targeting gay people and hoping to "cause a racial war in this country".
But that's the whole point! It argues we shouldn't be using empathy but instead compasssion, as empathy can be twisted and contorted to fit someones ideology. Yet compassion follows from some sort of reasoning and deliberation.
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gjd800
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(Original post by oliverxdineen)
It's called 'Against empathy' by Paul Bloom! Think you can get it on world of books for really cheap
Lovely stuff, cheers!
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Joe312
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Empathy has evolved to help us care about a few people in front of us, it did not evolve to help us appreciate the ethical implications of society-wide issues.

I think Bloom gives an example somewhere that it's empathy which makes us care about a story of a little girl trapped down a well but not about thousands of people who just died in some country we've never heard of.

He also gives the example of Trump bringing the family of people who have been killed by immigrants on stage at his rallies, getting his base angry about immigration through their empathy for its victims.
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