Analysis Of Paul Bloom 's ' Against Empathy ' Essay

Analysis Of Paul Bloom 's ' Against Empathy ' Essay

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Picture this: One of your relatives or friends is going through a very rough patch in their lives. They may have lost a job, gotten divorced, or has lost a loved one. It is clear that he or she needs the comfort and support of others. You know you have at least a small duty as a friend or relative to help this person. However, the dilemma is how to help. Should you attempt to grasp how this person truly feels and what he or she is going through and then help? Or should you give the assistance that the person needs without much emotion or thought about what the person is going through? In other words, you have to decide how much empathy you will give to the person in need.
In his essay, “Against Empathy,” Paul Bloom argues that certain levels of empathy are bred within every person and that people are empathetically biased towards those whom they are more attracted to, in terms of familiarity, relationship, and background. He raises the idea that cognitive, non-empathetic and “great” compassion is the best way to help others and make the world a better place compared to emotional empathy, which he believes leads to empathetic distress. One has to note, however, that there are limitations throughout Paul Bloom’s essay that cause his argument for an un-empathetic society to be quite debatable. He argues against emotional empathy and says that it leads to empathetic distress, which he describes as “exhausting,” “leads to burnout,” and “destructive of the individual in the long run” (Bloom). Those who are empathetic to others are “…more prone to suffer depression and anxiety,” according to Bloom (Bloom). Bloom may be correct in stating that some level of compassion and empathy is bred and needed within each and every person. His argu...


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...“public diplomacy, strategic communications, foreign aid and development assistance, and exchange programs” (Hammond). Unlike past administrations, the Obama administration has strived for empathy towards others and are in support of the aforementioned actions, as outlined by the article. It will allow people of the West better to understand the people of the Middle East and Muslims in general. Through these types of actions, empathy towards others will increase. In turn, this will lead to the downfall of previously held stereotypes, biases and racist ideas.
Emotional and cognitive empathy and compassion need one another, but some people cannot afford to have empathy because they are constantly living in fear and violence due to various factors such as, one’s environment, circumstances one is born into, and more specifically, racism and the criminal justice system.

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