[SydPhil] Monika Betzler @ 3.00 Thursday: The limits of Empathy

Kristie Miller kristie_miller at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 22 07:52:29 AEST 2019

This Thursday (July 25) Monika Betzler will be talking about the limits of empathy.

The talk will be in the Muniment room in the Main Quad at 3.00. All welcome.

The Limits of Empathy

Monika Betzler (LMU Munich)



The aim of this paper (co-authored with Simon Keller) is to show that (affective) empathy often makes demands of belief. As we will put it, once we empathize we are under a rational requirement to have beliefs that cohere with our empathy. To empathize with another person is to imagine how her situation is like for her, and share in her emotions. Emotions involve ways of seeing the world; fear of cats, for example, involves seeing cats as dangerous. To empathize with another person is, in part, to see the world as she sees it. If I empathize with your fear of cats, then I am under rational pressure to believe that cats are dangerous. The connection between empathy and belief has far-reaching consequences for several debates about the moral and epistemic roles of empathy. Empathy carries distinctive epistemic dangers along with its epistemic benefits; there can be good reasons to avoid empathy; there are epistemic barriers to our ability truly to empathize with others, even those very close to us; the ideal of universal empathy is incoherent; and empathy cannot plausibly be taken to be the basis of morality.

Associate Professor Kristie Miller
ARC Future Fellow
Joint Director, the Centre for Time
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry and
The Centre for Time
The University of Sydney
Sydney Australia
Room 407, A 14

kmiller at usyd.edu.au
kristie_miller at yahoo.com
Ph: +612 9036 9663

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