The author of the “Moral Life of Babies,” Paul Bloom, writes for the New Yorker, “The Baby in the Well: The Case Against Empathy.” He first talks briefly about the origins of the word empathy and the science behind it. He then lists several recent books about how great empathy is and how lack of empathy is essentially responsible for the world’s evil, concluding
This enthusiasm may be misplaced, however. Empathy has some unfortunate features—it is parochial, narrow-minded, and innumerate. We’re often at our best when we’re smart enough not to rely on it.
Why? First, it causes us to over-focus on problems with names and faces and ignore problems that are represented only by faceless statistics: