ON WISDOM Podcast – Episode 008: The Dark Side (with Paul Bloom)

The On Wisdom podcast features a social-cognitive scientist in Toronto and an educator in London discussing the latest empirical science regarding the nature of wisdom. Igor Grossmann runs the Wisdom & Culture Lab at the University of Waterloo in Canada. Charles Cassidy runs the Evidence-Based Wisdom project in London, UK. The podcast thrives on a diet of freewheeling conversation on wisdom and decision-making, and includes regular guests spots with leading behavioural scientists from the field of wisdom research and beyond. Welcome to The On Wisdom Podcast.


ABOUT THIS EPISODE

OW PODCAST- Ep8

One thing we all seem to agree on is that empathy is an unmitigated good.

But what if we are wrong?

Might some forms of empathy actually be dangerous for society, biasing preferences towards those that look like us, or even those we find attractive?

And even when our closest companions are in pain, is ‘feeling what they feel’ really the best way to help?

Are horrific acts of cruelty made palatable by dehumanising the victims, or is the truth actually much worse?

And how can social media turn do-gooders into deliverers of unlimited vengeance?


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Yale psychology professor Paul Bloom takes Igor and Charles for a walk on the dark side, exploring the treacherous hidden terrain of empathy, harmless torturers, aggregate cruelty and third-party punishment. Igor calls for tech companies to start hiring moral philosophers, Paul raises moral objections to loving your own children, and Charles has his mind blown and heart crushed by a revelatory, yet even darker, interpretation of human cruelty. Welcome to Episode 8.

Click here to listen to ‘Episode 8: The Dark Side’ in full

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You can contact me at charles@evidencebasedwisdom.com, via the about page or find me on twitter @EBasedwisdom. You can also contact me through the On Wisdom site here.

Charles