EF46 (S2-E7): Empathetic Distortion: Rigging the Scales of Justice

Empathetic Distortion: Rigging the Scales of Justice

EF46 (S2-E7): Empathetic Distortion: Rigging the Scales of Justice

PLAY | DOWNLOAD Like a rigged scale of justice, life in society and within cultures is inherently unfair. But what if there were ways to live true to yourself while also being compassionate to everyone? And is a just world even possible? More...

The big question driving episode EF49 is … Is a just world even possible?

Put in an impossible position early in her career, Mary Payne was forced to make a choice between saving a single identifiable victim or helping an entire community of nameless people. The decision haunts her entire life. Many years later in old age, Mary is faced with another trolley bearing down on her where she will once again be forced to make a difficult decision on which track to send it. But unlike before, this time her life sits in the balance on one of the tracks. 

In theories about a just society, good deeds are expected to be rewarded and bad deeds punished. But is it really so easy to define what is a good versus bad deed? Can empathy for one human being, and the reward that comes with it, blind you from the same effort being able to help many others instead? Using Paul Bloom’s theory of rational compassion, we will explore what means to be a good person and why genuine good can easily get prosecuted in an unjust society. What would you do with your hand on the switch and a trolley bearing down on two tracks, both with grave consequences? Is there any real possibility for a just world when some decisions have only bad outcomes? Or is life and society just inherently unfair?

Into The Rabbit Hole

SHOW NOTES: This episode is dedicated to Paul Bloom. See the EF46 Show Notes for details of the dedication, inspirations, references, selected quotes and more. 

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