The Dark Side (with Paul Bloom)
September 27th, 2018
58 mins 40 secs
About this Episode
One thing we all seem to agree on is that empathy is an unmitigated good. But what if we are wrong? Might some forms of empathy actually be dangerous for society, biasing preferences towards those that look like us, or even those we find attractive? And even when our closest companions are in pain, is ‘feeling what they feel’ really the best way to help? Are horrific acts of cruelty made palatable by dehumanising the victims, or is the truth actually much worse? And how can social media turn do-gooders into deliverers of unlimited vengeance? Paul Bloom takes Igor and Charles for a walk on the dark side, exploring the treacherous hidden terrain of empathy, harmless torturers, aggregate cruelty and third-party punishment. Igor calls for tech companies to start hiring moral philosophers, Paul raises moral objections to loving your own children, and Charles has his mind blown and heart crushed by a revelatory, yet even darker, interpretation of human cruelty. Welcome to Episode 8.
- Paul Bloom's Site
- The Case Against Empathy - Vox
- Against Empathy: Why Emotion-Based Politics Lead to Inaction - Big Think
- An appraisal theory of empathy and other vicarious emotional experiences: Wondra & Ellsworth (2015)
- Effective Altruism
- The Root of All Cruelty? - Paul Bloom
- Are We All ‘Harmless Torturers’ Now? - Paul Bloom & Matthew Jordan
- Third-party punishment as a costly signal of trustworthiness: Jordan, Hoffmann, Bloom, Rand (2016)
- Moral outrage in the digital age - Molly Crockett
- So You've Been Publicly Shamed - Jon Ronson - Guardian review
- Barack Obama and the 'empathy deficit'