Against Empathy

Against Empathy : The Case for Rational Compassion

3.59 (4,186 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 
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Description

In a divided world, empathy is not the solution, it is the problem.

We think of empathy - the ability to feel the suffering of others for ourselves - as the ultimate source of all good behaviour. But while it inspires care and protection in personal relationships, it has the opposite effect in the wider world. As the latest research in psychology and neuroscience shows, we feel empathy most for those we find attractive and who seem similar to us and not at all for those who are different, distant or anonymous. Empathy therefore biases us in favour of individuals we know while numbing us to the plight of thousands. Guiding us expertly through the experiments, case studies and arguments on all sides, Paul Bloom ultimately shows that some of our worst decisions - in charity, child-raising, criminal justice, climate change and war - are motivated by this wolf in sheep's clothing.

Brilliantly argued, urgent and humane, Against Empathy overturns widely held assumptions to reveal one of the most profound yet overlooked sources of human conflict.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 19mm | 213g
  • Vintage
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9780099597827
  • 31,375

Review Text

The title may shock, but this is a book of calm reason and expansive compassion. It’s also a pleasure to read: warm, lucid, and thought-provoking
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Review quote

Wonderfully humane, lucid and entertaining ... a brave and necessary tract for the times * Telegraph * A great, provocative book ... that will legitimately change how you think about the world and your own sense of morality * The New York Times * Bloom dismantles the argument that empathy is the basis of all morality ... Empathy, it turns out, is sentimental, superficial and racist * New Statesman * The title may shock, but this is a book of calm reason and expansive compassion. It's also a pleasure to read: warm, lucid, and thought-provoking -- Steven Pinker, author of The Better Angels of Our Nature I couldn't put this brilliantly argued book down. Engaging and witty, learned and stim ulating, provocative and packed with cutting-edge findings, Against Empathy is sure to start many important debates * Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother *
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About Paul Bloom

Paul Bloom is Professor of Psychology at University of Toronto and the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Yale University. His research explores the psychology of morality, identity and pleasure. Bloom is the recipient of multiple awards and honours, including most recently the million-dollar Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize. He has written for scientific journals such as Nature and Science, and for the New York Times, New Yorker, Atlantic and Guardian. He is the author or editor of eight books, including Just Babies, How Pleasure Works, Descartes' Baby and most recently Against Empathy.
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Rating details

4,186 ratings
3.59 out of 5 stars
5 17% (698)
4 40% (1,686)
3 31% (1,299)
2 10% (403)
1 2% (100)
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