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Are empathy and morality linked? Evidence from moral psychology, social and decision neuroscience, and philosophy


Ugazio, Giuseppe; Majdandzić, Jasminka; Lamm, Claus (2014). Are empathy and morality linked? Evidence from moral psychology, social and decision neuroscience, and philosophy. In: Maibom, Heidi L. Empathy and Morality. New York: Oxford University Press, 155-171.

Abstract

Empathy and morality have an important yet very complex relation. This complexity is most likely due to the multifaceted nature of empathy and the uncertainty of knowledge about the nature of morality. This chapter first considers the philosophical debate on the nature of morality. Second, it presents empirical data from social neuroscience and psychology to differentiate empathy from related, but distinct social emotions (such as sympathy or compassion). Based on these considerations, it provides a framework in which the relation of morality and empathy can be described. It then reviews empirical evidence making the case that empathy is but one constitutive element of morality, and can even trigger amoral behavior under certain circumstances. Finally, the chapter discusses how empathy—by enabling people to understand how their behavior affects others— can play a fundamental role in promoting morality’s goal of maximizing everyone’s well-being.

Abstract

Empathy and morality have an important yet very complex relation. This complexity is most likely due to the multifaceted nature of empathy and the uncertainty of knowledge about the nature of morality. This chapter first considers the philosophical debate on the nature of morality. Second, it presents empirical data from social neuroscience and psychology to differentiate empathy from related, but distinct social emotions (such as sympathy or compassion). Based on these considerations, it provides a framework in which the relation of morality and empathy can be described. It then reviews empirical evidence making the case that empathy is but one constitutive element of morality, and can even trigger amoral behavior under certain circumstances. Finally, the chapter discusses how empathy—by enabling people to understand how their behavior affects others— can play a fundamental role in promoting morality’s goal of maximizing everyone’s well-being.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Empathy, morality, emotions, motivation
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:12 Feb 2015 15:42
Last Modified:14 Feb 2018 23:20
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISBN:9780199969470
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199969470.003.0008
Related URLs:http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199969470.001.0001/acprof-9780199969470 (Publisher)

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