Are we hard-wired to empathize with others? Has the ability given us an evolutionary advantage? What roles have religion and culture played? And if empathy is so much part of who we are, why is it so easy to demonize our enemies — and even enjoy others’ pain and suffering?
Those questions and more were explored by a workshop on empathy at IU Bloomington, co-sponsored by the Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions and the Institute for Advanced Study. The workshop brought together 15 scholars from a range of disciplines to discuss their work on empathy-related topics.