The Best Charity Uses the Head, But It Can’t Happen Without the Heart

“I’m writing a book on empathy,” Yale psychologist Paul Bloom begins in an animated interview with The Atlantic, “and I’m arguing against it.”

Empathy blinds us to the long-term consequences of our actions, he argues, therefore charity motivated primarily by empathy has less impact in improving our world than does charity motivated by reason.

As an effective altruist and advocate of the movement for nearly three years, I see the point that Bloom is trying to make: that we must consider the most pressing issues and the most efficient ways to solve them when making charitable decisions.


But in the process of trying to discuss this relatively straightforward concept, at least its most basic value proposition, he states a dangerous fallacy: that empathy and reason are mutually exclusive.

Rachel Elizabeth Maley