DEDICATION: Episode EF46 is dedicated to Paul Bloom, an American psychologist known for his work investigating how people try to understand the world. His alternative take on morality — rational compassion over empathy — makes a compelling case on why empathy without the balance of reason might sometimes do more harm than good. Can empathy actually prevent a person from doing the most good they can? If you enjoy trolley problem speculation, then toying with rational compassion will help you formulate challenging scenarios even more personal and complex.
Bloom argues that empathy isn’t a great tool for making rational decisions since empathetic judgment can be clouded by emotions. As a replacement, Bloom suggests rational compassion, a mindset that focuses on maximizing the benefits one can create for others, while simultaneously ignoring the emotional rewards one can get by focusing on the single identifiable victim (who might not represent the greatest good, relatively speaking).
Learn more about Paul Bloom here:
- Paul Bloom Twitter
- Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion on Amazon
- Paul Bloom’s Talk on Rational Compassion