Empathy and Morality Should Not Be Conflated

Empathy and Morality Should Not Be Conflated from Vanderbilt Kennedy Center On Vimeo.

This Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Lecture on Development and Developmental Disabilities was presented on May 4, 2023.

Empathy provides information for moral decision-making. However, empathy is limited and fragile, thus not always a reliable source of information in moral decision-making. This conference integrates theory and empirical knowledge from evolutionary theory, neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral economics to demonstrate how various social and situational factors unconsciously and rapidly modulate empathy. Decision-making guided by empathy alone is not optimal when dealing with large groups, people from our tribe, or anonymous persons.

About the Speaker: Jean Decety is the Irving B. Harris Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago and the College. He received a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University Claude Bernard (France), and then completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in Sweden, at Lund University Hospital and at the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm in the Departments of Clinical Neurophysiology and Neuroradiology. Dr. Decety is head of the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, and the Director of the Child Neurosuite.

Last Updated: 5/5/2023 3:08:21 PM

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