Empathy is the necessary beginning

Empathy is fundamentally, from a moral stand point, a bad thing. It makes the world worse” — Paul Bloom Professor of Psychology & Cognitive Science, Yale University

The above is an excerpt from a short preview animated by the Atlantic of Paul Bloom’s stance against empathy in his up-coming book on the subject

I found the short to be disheartening in its discarding of empathy as an essential part of life — in our relationships, our interactions and our ability to contribute to our society, culture and community.


Bloom understands empathy as “putting oneself in the shoes of another”, consequently increasing the likelihood of “helping or caring for that person”. Why does he think this is a bad thing? Bloom claims that it “blinds us to the long term consequences of our actions”; the consequences being that the empathy driven concern for people shadows the engagement of greater issues: