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Empathy and Morality$
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Heidi L. Maibom

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199969470

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199969470.001.0001

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Empathy, Emotion Regulation, and Moral Judgment

Empathy, Emotion Regulation, and Moral Judgment

(p.97) 5 Empathy, Emotion Regulation, and Moral Judgment
Empathy and Morality

Antti Kauppinen

Oxford University Press

Empathy’s role in moral judgment has not received as much attention as its role in moral motivation. Empathy makes a difference by way of arousing emotions that causally influence judgment. Empathy’s critics point to its inherent partiality and limitations, which allegedly mean that it cannot play a fundamental role in explaining judgment, and that its influence is normatively problematic. In response, this chapter draws on the classical sentimentalist tradition and recent psychological literature to argue that when empathic reactions are subjected to emotion regulation by reference to an ideal perspective, they are after all fit to fundamentally explain why people make non-self-interested, interpersonally acceptable moral judgments. Getting along with others pressures people to down-regulate empathy with the near and dear and up-regulate empathy with the distant and different. When people successfully do so, there’s good reason to think that the resulting judgments are vindicated rather than undermined.

Keywords:   empathy, moral judgment, emotion regulation, ideal perspective

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