Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion

Paul Bloom

Brooks & Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science, Yale University

Paul Bloom is a distinguished scientist and award-winning author with an international reputation, and he has published over 100 articles in top scientific journals.  He is also one of Yale’s most-renowned teachers, known for both his award-winning lectures to large audiences — as in his 500-person course “Introduction to Psychology” — and his more intimate seminars, such as his freshman class on the seven deadly sins.

The author of several books, his new book is Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion. In it, Dr. Bloom argues that empathy is a bad thing—that it makes the world worse. While we’ve been taught that putting yourself in another’s shoes cultivates compassion, it actually blinds you to the long-term consequences of your actions.

This talk was proposed by Stylianos Syropoulos '18 and Assistant Professor of Psychology Joshua Rottman and is sponsored by the Center for Liberal Arts and Society, the Ware Institute for Civic Engagement, Bonchek College House, the Departments of Psychology and Philosophy, the Program in Scientific and Philosophical Studies of Mind, and Fulton Bank.

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