Teaching Empathy Instead of Obedience

Libby Anne’s latest brilliant post on parenting analyzes a recent incident in which her 2 year old son hit her 5 year old daughter with a toy and the 5 year old struck back and caused him to cry. As soon as Libby Anne heard him cry she swooped onto the situation and the 5 [Read More...]

Dear Cryptically Sad Friend On Facebook

Dear Cryptically Sad Friend On Facebook Who Just Announced That You’re In Pain But Can’t Discuss The Particulars, As the kids like to say, I know that feel. And I want you to know I feel sad when I hear you’re sad and I am available to talk should you ever think it will help [Read More...]

Chances to Learn Empathy–or Bigotry

What could inspire church kids to try to bully a man in a wheelchair? [Read more...]

Is Oxytocin The "Morality Molecule"

That is Paul Zak’s theory. The video is fascinating: Now I just need to find 8 people to hug me everyday. (via Philosopher’s Haze, who you can read for a summary if you cannot watch the video for some reason). Patricia Churchland’s book Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality explores the role of Oxycotin in morality [Read More...]

Ann Druyan And Carl Sagan On The Empathic Ethical Behavior Of Humans Vs. Macaque Monkeys

Really fascinating bit of radio audio discussing a variation of the Milgram experiment performed on macaque monkeys, comparing its results to when the actual Milgram experiment was first done on humans: Thanks to Amanda for the great find. Your Thoughts? [Read more...]

On Failing To Grasp How Competition Can Be Cooperative And How Cooperation Can Be Counter-Productive

Robin Hanson responds to work such as Frans de Waal’s which emphasizes the invaluable role that empathy and cooperation played in natural selection of humans by stressing that as good as cooperation might be, we are prone to making serious errors about what genuinely helpful cooperation entails in specific instances: The unstated moral behind most [Read More...]

What Makes Humans Unique?

This is a fascinating, illuminating, and myth-debunking lecture from neurologist Robert Sapolsky.  He goes through a number of features of our nature, shows how they are shared with other animals and how we take these features to another level.  And in the end it’s paradoxical and inspirational. It’s long but worth the time. Thanks to [Read More...]

On Equity: Plato, Aristotle, and Sotomayor

Some day down the road, I hope to sift all my thoughts on empathy and “wise Latinas judges” in light of Nietzsche’s wealth of insights into perspectival knowledge as a more virile knowledge than the emasculation that comes through objectivity.  (Genealogy of Morals III:12)  But to hold us over in the meantime, here is Joseph [Read More...]


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