Is empathy a bad thing?

Today is World Empathy Day. The world would be a better place if we felt more empathy for others — from the homeless to refugees — right? Yale psychologist Paul Bloom disagrees. This animation illustrates Bloom’s argument that empathy is a poor moral guide, which favours one over the many.

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Activities

  1. Without looking in a dictionary, write a definition of “empathy”. Then, define the word “sympathy”. How are they different?
  2. Do you agree with Professor Bloom about empathy? Write a summary of his main points and, then, explain whether or not you agree with them.