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(Prinz 2011)

More on Jesse Prinz http://j.mp/1hGhZqE


Is empathy necessary for morality
Jesse J. Prinz
In Amy Coplan & Peter Goldie (eds.), Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives.
Oxford University Press 211--229 (2011)
"Before
 embarking
 on
 this
 campaign
 against
 empathy,
 I
 want
 to
 say
 a
 little
 more
 about
 the
target 
of
 the
 attack.
 What
 is
 empathy?
 And
 what
 would
it
mean
to
 say
 empathy 
is
 necessary
for 
morality?
 With
 respect
 to 
the 
first
 question,
 much
 has
 been
 written.
 Theories
 of
 empathy
 abound.
 Batson
 et
 al.
 (1995:
 1042)
 define
 empathy
 as,
“ as
 an other‐oriented
emotional
 response 
congruent
 with
 the
 perceived
 welfare
 of
 another
 person.”
 This
 is
 not
 the
 definition
 I
 will
 be
 using.
 Batson’s
 construct
 might
 be 
better
 characterized
 as
 “concern,”
because
 of
 its
 focus
 on
 another
 person’s
 welfare.
 Indeed,
 in
 much
 of
 his
 research
 he
 talks
 about
 “empathetic
 concern.”






AGAINST EMPATHY
JESSE PRINZ
Article first published online: 1 SEP 2011

abstract

"Empathy 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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