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EmpathyPhilosophical and Psychological Perspectives$
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Amy Coplan and Peter Goldie

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199539956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199539956.001.0001

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Is Empathy Necessary for Morality?

Is Empathy Necessary for Morality?

Chapter:
(p.211) 13 Is Empathy Necessary for Morality?
Source:
Empathy
Author(s):

Jesse J. Prinz

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199539956.003.0014

In this chapter I ask whether empathy is necessary for morality.  This question can be disambiguated in several ways.  Is empathy necessary for making moral judgments? Is empathy necessary for developing a moral sense?  Is empathy necessary for moral motivation?  Is empathy normatively necessary‐‐i.e., should we necessarily try to cultivate an empathy-based moral psychology? I argue that the answer to each of these questions is no. Empathy is less integral to morality, than some have thought, and potentially an impediment to moral motivation. Other moral emotions are more important.

Keywords:   moral development, motivation, moral judgment, anger, guilt, gender, culture

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