Fritz Breithaupt

The Dark Sides of Empathy

Fritz Breithaupt
Foto: Fritz Breithaupt
© Hebbah Vidali

Fritz Breithaupt is Professor for Germanic and Comparative Literature as well as Affiliate Professor for Cognitive Science at Indiana University Bloomington.

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English world rights (Cornell University Press), Korea (SOSO), Hungary (Typotex)


Empathy is considered the basis of moral action. But if we examine this more carefully, the ability to »empathize with other people« proves itself to be a prerequisite for deliberate humiliation and cruelty. Additionally, even well-meaning compassion has many unintended consequences. It is for these reasons that we must investigate especially the dark, hitherto repressed aspects of empathy in order to achieve a better society.

Fritz Breithaupt invites his readers to consider these facets and in doing so leads us from narcissism and Nietzsche to helicopter parents and Angela Merkel’s refugee policy. After Cultures of Empathy, his successful first book on empathy, a topic that has been neglected in ethical discourse, Fritz Breithaupt now presents another study on this most important philosophical subject.

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