Paul Bloom

Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion

16:54 min
Philosophy, Psychology
285 pages, 2016

Empathy may seem a moral imperative, but as Paul Bloom reveals, blind empathy can introduce troubling biases. This short spotlights empathy's limitations in policymaking and relationships, questioning notions of its role as an ethical guidepost. Exploring multifaceted social impacts and the science behind emotional mirroring, Bloom unpacks the mixed blessings of empathy while underscoring the equal importance of reason. Ultimately readers will gain a nuanced examination challenging oversimplified views of empathy as an unqualified moral good. Bloom's analysis offers a balanced re-evaluation vital for nurturing compassion beyond reflexive emotional identification toward more considerate and constructive human relations.

Paul Bloom

Paul Bloom is a renowned psychologist and the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Yale University. He has made significant contributions to the fields of developmental psychology, social psychology, and moral psychology, exploring topics such as empathy, morality, pleasure, and the origins of human beliefs and behaviors. Bloom's influential works present his research findings and insights to a wide audience, shedding light on the psychological foundations of human nature and challenging conventional wisdom on various aspects of the human experience.


While empathy helps connect us to individual suffering, biases limit its ability to uniformly guide moral judgment. Integrating empathy with impartial reason allows preventing these biases from overriding welfare maximization when assessing actions’ morality.
Go to chapter

Cover of Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion