Jack Mulligan Research Proposal

Empathy is a topic encompassing a wide array of debate. There are many questions as to the role that empathy and this leads to the constant drive for people to find trends with empathy. I am going to identify one of these trends. I am going to look at trends in empathy at two levels of income. One aspect will be looking at how empathy differs among socio-economic classes in specified locations (countries). In addition to this, I will look at how different countries classified by wealth compare in overall sense of empathy. The combination of these two points of research will help make advance in answering the question “How does empathy differ across socio-economic groups”

 

Works Cited

Fischer, Agnenta H. Gender and Emotion: Social Psychological Perspectives (Studies in Emotion and Social Interaction. Cambridge University Press. 2000

Dunn, Lee. Wallace, Michelle. “Australian academics teaching in Singapore: striving for cultural empathy.” Innovations in Education and Teaching International, Volume 41, Issue 3, 2004

Haigh, Maritn. “Fostering Cross-Cultural Empathy With Non-Western Curricular Structures.” Journal of Studies in International Education. Volume 13, Issue 2, 2009, 271-284

Duhon, David L. Black, H Tyrone. “Assessing the Impact of Business Study Abroad Programs on Cultural Awareness and Personal Development.” Journal of Education for Business. Volume 81, Issue 3, 2006

Dyche, Lawrence. Zayas, Luis H. “Cross-Cultural Empathy and Training the Contemporary Psychotherapist” Clinical Social Work Journal Volume 29, Issue 3, 2009,245-258

Introduction to an epiphany

This blog sequence will address some of the complex situations that arise with empathy. Empathy is something that allows people to think about situations from a different perspective.This sequence will take a specific focus on empathy on a larger scale. This exploration will help come to a conclusion on the question of, “When empathy(or a lack thereof) plays a role, how is there an impact on the joint thinking of large groups of people?” As the thread evolves, it will become clear that when a group is involved in scenario that involves empathy, the joint thinking among the group is close to identical. Even within a group of people with considerable differences, the response to an empathic situation is similar.

The thread begins by critically analyzing the arguments made by Adam Morton. My point that is made about Adam Morton can show what happens when somebody examines a situation of empathy, though disregards the theory that I bring up about joint thinking. Morton makes a variety of points in regards to empathizing with people who are “evil”. I take a specific focus on his discussion of “pseudo-empathy”, primarily because this is when issues arise. Throughout his essay, Morton relies on the use of the terms “empathy” and “pseudo-empathy”. In saying “pseudo-empathy”, he claims to be referring to empathy with an absence of understanding. It ends up that Morton’s reference to people who have “Empathy for the Devil” actually just have “pseudo-empathy”, which is not empathy at all. These ideas help to give an alternate example of a potential result of a situation with empathy. Adam Morton sees a select few people respond to evil acts with empathy. The vast majority of people respond with “pseudo-empathy”, which is also known as no empathy. In other words, the joint response of the group is the same. As this thread will go on to prove, the actions of the majority need to be taken for truth as opposed to an attempt to fit them in with outliers. While Adam Morton seems puzzled as to why people empathize with the devil, he just looking at the actions of a minority of the group. He has no reason to puzzled.

The bridge to the entire sequence is blog post 2, which gives us a very specific example of large group empathy playing out. As the example used here is looking at a social media reaction. Social media encompasses millions of people, which denotes the large group. This post looks at both the specific example and another source that further explains the example. The outside source that is examined comes from a man named P.J. Manney. He helps to make sense of the overall large group impacts that come from empathy. Manney discusses the idea of an “out group”, which can only be created with a very large group of non empathizers. Once these people agree on a particular “out group” that deserves no understanding or empathy, everyone feels the right to pounce on members of the out group. This is why when people make major mistakes in the public eye, people become ruthless and forget that this person has any real role other than this one bad action. In this post, there is also the example which helps to give a more concrete idea of the out group. I took Walter Palmer, the American dentist who killed the popular lion named Ceil on a trophy hunting trip in Zimbabwe. The general public saw him as being in the out group of people that don’t value the lives of animals, thus they had no empathy for him. He was highly criticized and had to adjust his day-to-day life in order to avoid the negative media attention everywhere he went. This criticism came from people across the world who have many sets of values, though found similar in showing no empathy for this out group.  

The final thread to the blog sequence elaborates on the progression of Atticus Finch in several of Harper Lee’s novels. When a reader experiences Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird prior to Go Set a Watchman, there is a clear sense that Atticus Finch (the father in the book) seems to shift from an activist for race equality to a racist. I explain how this historical example shows the strong role of a lack of empathy over a longer time period. While readers see Atticus Finch as a rare activist following his defense of Tom Robinson, there’s more to it. The reader cannot forgot the strength that the joint thinking of the Southern community has. For To Kill a Mockingbird, both Scout and the readers are able to maintain a fantasy world for some time. Though, reality caught up and we realized that Atticus Finch is just like the rest of his racist peers. Going along with the ideas of P.J. Manney, we have to remember that most of the South in this time had placed African Americans in an out-group. It is not likely that Atticus will go against this huge group. During this time, there was a non-existent sense of empathy among white people. As sweet as his defense of Tom Robinson seemed, it just is not that simple. Atticus had a great passion for his job, and he was able to bear the embarrassment of defending a black man for a short period of time. While it took a while for it to become completely obvious, everyone can now see that Atticus has always been apart of his community and their views on African Americans.

Overall, it has become obvious that even large groups of people will respond similarly to the same stimulus. The three examples discussed in the sequence all differ, though each similarly shows that groups respond to empathy related situations in nearly identical ways. These are all examples from people’s actions, but it would be realistic to say that this thesis could also be backed with psychological research. Everyone shares something in their brain that allows such a similar reaction regardless of race, gender, culture or values.

Works Cited

Manney, P.J. “Is Technology Destroying Empathy?” LiveScience.  30 June 2015. Web. 23 October 2016. <http://www.livescience.com/51392-will-tech-bring-humanity-together-or-tear-it-apart.html>

Atticus Finch’s Predictable Progression

Throughout the novel Go Set a Watchman, it becomes obvious to most readers that Atticus Finch (the father) makes some major jumps in his character. As it is portrayed in Go Set a Watchman and To Kill a Mockingbird, the reader is able to see the progression of almost 20 years in the lives of the characters. The outside viewer first sees Atticus as the moral attorney who goes against all odds to defend Tom Robinson,who is a black man(TKAM). As it turns out, many readers fail to recognize that Atticus was assigned to this case rather than volunteering. After being given his assignment, there is no choice to go through with it regardless of his lack of respect for African Americans. 20 years later in the story of his life, we see Atticus attends Citizens Council meetings which seem to have a racist motivation. It is finally obvious enough for viewers. Many people, including Jean Louise, are not happy with this change in Atticus.

By the end of Go Set a Watchman, Jean Louise is no longer as opposed to this and I will argue that this is because Atticus’ change in character was very predictable. In addition to this, he did not change as much as most readers believe. Atticus Finch is a relatively typical man who lives in a racist society. During certain parts of To Kill a Mockingbird , Atticus gives us small hints that he ultimately has always had the racist mindset of his peers. Jean Louise Finch is finally coming to an age at which she can understand the complex ideas of the world. For the greater part of To Kill  a Mockingbird, she is a very young girl. While she proves that she is very smart for her age, there is still an inability to make complex connections at that age. As a young girl, she sees people as being racist when they act in ways such as saying “the n word”. Atticus Finch never did and never will act in such a way. For example he mentioned to Scout (Jean Louise) how he hated to see white men take advantage of the Negro ignorance(TKAM).This shows that he does have some racist thoughts, but they are not nearly as “in the face” like other people of the town. With this mentioned statement, he is saying that he can see the superiority of African Americans, which is racist. In order to realize this about him, Jean Louise has to have complicated conversations and this does not occur until she is older. Atticus has not changed his thoughts. She has just matured and gained the ability to understand the true meaning of his thoughts.

Another contributing factor, which helps to make more sense of the situation, is the fact that Jean Louise has been spending a good chunk of time in New York City. This culture completely opposes that of her home. At the start of the book, it is stated that, “Jean Louise Finch always made this trip by air, but she decided to go by train from New York to Macomb Junction on her fifth annual trip home”(Lee 1). This statement makes it clear that she has now been living in The North for a good amount of time. Thus, she has become one with her new culture and this means that the racism that she has always been accustomed to comes as a surprise when she visits back home.

The way I see it, Jean Louise has good reason to soften her hatred for the ways of Hank and Atticus. Of course they are racist, which is not good. Though, given the intelligent men that they are, everything is thought through is depth. Atticus provides reasoning behind all of his thoughts. He is not like many of the others who simply say that segregation must be maintained because of superiority. As time goes on, Jean Louise begins to understand Atticus’ thought process in addition to the fact that she is now also molding into her old culture. This collage of pictures helps to give a true sense of the time they lived in. Having an expectation of Atticus to oppose these extreme views is quite ridiculous. He is embedded in the culture of his community.

 

 

http://ijr.com/2014/04/133024-10-charts-show-racist-america-really/

 

Works Cited

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Warner, Print 1982.

Lee, Harper. Go Set a Watchman, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY, 2015.

 

 

Social media fights for Cecil the lion

It seems that the social media world is either picking on or supporting a different individual each day. One target of choice was Walter Palmer.  During the summer of 2015, Walter Palmer went from being being a dentist to a worldwide target. Palmer, an avid trophy hunter, was on a trip in Zimbabwe when he captured one of his most prized kills. Along with his tour guides, Palmer successfully killed a lion by the name of Cecil. Cecil was very well known and lived in a protected park, thus putting Walter Palmer and his team of hunters in a tough position. The group faced some legal implications, but what impacted Walter Palmer most was the outlash of people across the world. People took to social media as a way to express their anger toward Walter Palmer. As seen in the title of the article by Hilary Whiteman, the hashtag “#WalterPalmer” was all over twitter. Jimmy Kimmel provides one of the many reactions from celebrities. While he made his best attempt at justifying his actions, people made sure to give him the harsh treatment that they thought he deserved(Whiteman).

P.J. Manney wrote a very interesting article which can help to explain this situation. With the heightened role of social media in everybody’s lives, Manney decided to do some research on the role of empathy in the social media craze. He argues that there is hope for the future generations,but there is also clear evidence to show why people seemingly act with no empathy on the social media forums (Manney). Interestingly enough, his findings can very closely relate to the situation with Walter Palmer. P.J. Manney theorizes that the extreme lack of empathy comes as a result of the creation of “out groups”. The “out group” can describe a great variety of groups of people. This might be a group of people supporting a political figure, a racial group or in the case of Walter Palmer, animal hunters(Manney). This “out group” is seen by people on social media as being so faulty that they are no longer treated like other human beings. People will take this group and say what they want, proving that they have a severe lack of empathy. Once people became aware that Cecil was killed, Walter Palmer was thought of as being in a group of people that don’t care about the lives of animals. Once he was placed in this group, they felt much more justified to make comments that would typically be considered very offensive. I really enjoy the argument that he makes. It is most interesting that this “out group” can be one which actually acts in a morally incorrect way (take the KKK for example) or it can be a group which is not at any fault (African American people). I think that this is something that is present in many realms of life, though he is able to describe it with this specific term.

 

Whiteman, Hilary. “#WalterPalmer: From hunter to hunted– Internet seeks revenge for Celcil the Lion.” Truth Revolt. 29 July 2015. Web. 4 November 2016. <http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/29/world/cecil-lion-walter-palmer-social-reaction/>

 

Manney, P.J. “Is Technology Destroying Empathy?” LiveScience.  30 June 2015. Web. 23 October 2016. <http://www.livescience.com/51392-will-tech-bring-humanity-together-or-tear-it-apart.html>

 

When Morton Veers Off Course

Throughout his essay “Empathy for the Devil”, Adam Morton makes several claims in reference to empathizing with atrocious acts. Morton goes into more depth by looking at how and why seemingly normal people will empathize with evil acts. He ultimately theorizes that there exists a barrier between people knowing how and why an atrocious act is performed. Morton arrived at this thesis by examining people who showed signs of empathizing with atrocious acts and looks further as to why “normal” people like us end up showing empathy to people performing these evil acts. He comes to a conclusion that we are able to have an understanding of why people might perform an evil act. Though, the barrier comes into play when we have to understand how a person ultimately performs the act. This is the barrier that he refers to(Morton 320). Morton elaborates in saying that people will often mistake feelings of empathy with pseudo-empathy. He says that this is a form of empathy which is accompanied by no understanding at all(Morton 327). By deriving of this term, Morton is able to have a concrete word to describe the people who experience the barrier.

Adam Morton develops a strong argument with strong support, thus making it difficult to refute. With a paper that revolves around the term “empathy”, it is important that Morton is on the same page as the reader when it comes to defining terms.  He establishes fair us of the term “pseudo-empathy”. At the point in the reading when this establishment occurs, it is likely that the reader has gotten a good grasp on what empathy is. In bringing up a seemingly similar term of pseudo-empathy, Morton is confusing the reader. Christian Miller helps support me on this in his article on “Defining Empathy: Thoughts on Coplan’s Approach”. Miller does an extensive analysis on a variety of issues with Coplan, but one of the most simple points is what helps to support my debunking of the idea of pseudo-empathy. He says that there are certain people(Adam Morton is included in this list) who have a very wide spectrum for which they categorize empathy. Though, he goes on to explain a differing mindset that Coplan expresses. Coplan says that ONLY “Empathy Proper” is considered to be empathy. All other processes (such as pseudo-empathy) are considered to be non empathetic processes(Miller 71). This is what I think must be added to Morton’s essay. He already makes some very small distinctions between aspects of human actions,etc. I think he needs to make a clear cut line on what is not empathy so it is easier to understand who empathizes and who does not. It is too difficult to understand how a pseudo-empathizer is different.

Given a reader who better understands the weakness of using “pseudo-empathy”, it seems as though they should question Morton’s argument. He main way of hooking in the reader is with an essay entitled “Empathy for the Devil”. It seems absurd to readers that people would actually empathize with the Devil. Though, it turns out that Adam Morton is arguing that some people “pseudo-empathize” with the Devil. Knowing that pseudo-empathy is not empathy at all, this means that the basis of title and thesis collapse.

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

MILLER, C. (2011), DEFINING EMPATHY: THOUGHTS ON COPLAN’S APPROACH. The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 49: 66–72. doi:10.1111/j.2041-6962.2011.00057.x

Morton, Adam. “Empathy For The Devil.” Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological                 Perspectives, edited by Amy Coplan and Peter Goldie, Oxford University Press,                 2011, 318-330.

 

Strive for justice ends in failure

Over the course of A Time to Kill, it is very evident that empathy is present in the film and specifically in the hearing of Carl Lee Hailey. The reason that these points of empathy promote justice in the film is because of the effects on people involved. Once Jake Brigance and Judge Noose are exposed to empathetic situations, they begin to act in ways which are no longer in the best interest of themselves, their family or the community. The reactions of these 2 individuals should be examined in further depth to show how their feelings of empathy led to further promote justice. Justice can be defined as an individual being treated in a way which aligns with the law. When speaking of a court case, the application of the law pertains to process,verdict and sentence. Even while the involvement of empathy promotes justice, this justice is not ultimately served in the verdict.

The film made it clear that many people were working very hard to achieve justice. It can be shown that empathy was a major source of motivation for this. There is only one truly “just” decision that can be made, but the prosecution and defense attorneys had their own opinions on this and thus they both aggressively studied and fought to prove their form of justice. Through a brief examination of Jake Brigance’s journey in this case, it becomes clear that empathy is what drove him through the tough process. Brigance has constant KKK threats that ultimately amount to his house being burnt to the ground(TK).  Though, he has a constant drive to serve as a result of empathy for the Hailey family. Jake comes home to his wife and explains to his wife how he imagines the abduction and rape of Tanya as it being their own daughter, Hannah(TK). He goes through very tough times in the case, so we must wonder what the reasoning for his constant drive is. It is known that Carl Lee Hailey is poor, so there is not a huge monetary incentive for Jake Brigance(TK). It is likely that there are other clients waiting on Jake and they will be paying him a much heftier amount than that of Carl Lee Hailey. This then leaves one to believe that Jake Brigance feels as though he is in the shoes of Carl Lee Hailey. He empathizes with his client and is not going to be stopped by public judgment, the KKK or even people burning his house to the ground.

While the judge assigned to Carl Lee Hailey’s case has no direct impact on the verdict, he still runs the courtroom. It is a frequent occurrence in the movie to see either the prosecution or defense attempt to interject in the midst of another’s speech. For example, Jake Brigance tries to stop the prosecution when the psychologist comes from Mississippi State to prove the sanity of Carl Lee Hailey(TK). It is up to the judge to decide who has the right to continue speaking in this situation, and by the end of the movie it seems as though the judge has treated both sides equally. Both the prosecution and defense were denied and granted what they requested. While the direct connection is never made, it can be fair to say that Jake Brigance’s meeting at the judge’s estate is what led the judge to playing his part in promoting justice. Brigance made an effort to visit the judge and make a request for a change of venue(TK). While it was not granted, Jake’s decision to visit him showed his dedication to reaching justice regardless of what was necessary.  Considering the society of rampant racism that they live in, it is a fair assumption to say that the judge would typically act in favor of the whites (the prosecution). Regardless, Jake Brigance showed his dedication for his craft by going to the judge’s house. Before reaching the pinnacle of his career, the judge was likely in a very similar position as Jake Brigance. He developed some empathy for him knowing that they have been in the same shoes. It is imperative to also consider that Judge Noose is a white man in a time and place of great racism. He takes great risk by giving equal treatment to the black man accused and the white man prosecuting, considering that many white people will expect a bias against the black man. Judge Noose has a passion for his job and that means promoting justice against all odds.

Martha Nussbaum provides further evidence on the value of empathy in this film’s journey for justice. She considers the variety of situations from which issues can arise. She considers when emotions might be a hinderance in the courtroom and when emotions will promote justice. Her argument is most applicable to Carl Lee Hailey’s situation when she says, “As I have said, emotions are good guides only if they are based on a true view of the facts of the case and a true view of the importance of various types of suffering and joy for human actors of many types”(Nussbaum 75). Nussbaum is referring more to the role of emotions in a verdict, but it still applies very much to empathy’s impact in promoting overall justice in the movie. Whether we are thinking about Jake Brigance or Judge Noose, we can see that they are fully aware of factual aspects of the situation, but empathy ultimately steers them in a direction which is a complete fight for justice. She additionally mentions the importance of an emotion not applying to an individual but the greater group(Nussbaum 71). It would be fair to say that most people in the community can relate to Brigance’s empathy for Tanya’s rape. Nussbaum does set specific criteria as those stated, but this case fits them. That is until the end.

By the end of the film, justice is unfortunately not served. As has been analyzed here, the trial goes over very smoothly for the great majority of it. Though, there comes a point in the trial where emotions (specifically empathy) have taken too prominent of a role. Martha Nussbaum explains this idea in saying that, “The emotions do not tell us how to solve these problems; they do keep our attention focused on them as problems we ought to solve”(69).  This can be seen when Jake Brigance gives his closing statements. Jake Brigance is the last voice that is heard by the jury prior to their decision on the verdict of Carl Lee Hailey’s case. Jake given them an in depth and play by play recount of the abduction and rape of Tanya, Carl’s daughter. The film shows nearly all of the jury members who are visibly shaken emotionally. Many of them are sobbing(TK). This is the state in which the jury makes their final decision on the case. Not to say that they still cannot take a holistic view of the situation, but it appears as though empathy has taken far too much control, and it ends in a way that justice is not served.

 

Works Cited

 

A Time to Kill. Directed by Joel Schumacher. Warner Brothers, 1996.

 

Nussbaum, Martha. “Rational Emotions.” Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life. Boston: Beacon, 1995. 53-78

 

Empathy in A Time to Kill

One of the most notable invokations of empathy in A Time to Kill is in the closing comments of Jake Brigance, who is the defense attorney in the movie. I will not argue that he is invoking solely empathy from the jury. There are definitely other emotions along with empathy. He sets out to invoke empathy and it is nearly a given that extreme empathy will result in other potential emotions such as sadness or anger. Mr. Brigance shows the great power of emotion appeal in that he ultimately changes the mind of every juror with one story.

Mr. Brigance has come to a point in the trial where success does not look near. There have been several mistakes that he did not anticipate, and that means his last chance is to get to the emotions of the jury. The scenarios surrounding the case are loaded with emotional appeal, so Mr. Brigance makes the decision that he will use this to his advantage in the closing comments. So, he sets on his away. His goal is have the jury empathize with the family of Tanya when she was raped. He has the jury close their eyes and he tells the entire story of Tanya Hailey being raped. He uses extreme detail in describing her blood, the force and other terrifying aspects of the raping. He makes sure to include each and every detail so that the jury can envision the event as if it is occurring right in front of them. After listing off the scary details, he ends his story by mentioning that the girl he describes is a white one. This brief statement of it being a white girl is what really defines the entire closing statement as being one that is directly aimed at invoking empathy(TK).

During his comments and in the moments after, the impacts can be seen. Many of the jury members and the general population in the courtroom are tearing up(TK). It can be seen that Mr. Brigance has done a great job in making these people feel as though they are experiencing the rape right then and there. Another role that this great sense of empathy plays is sadness and anger coming out from people. They become so sad in just imagining a young and innocent girl being raped. This makes them mad at the men who would choose to do this and thus they have a bit more empathy for the actions of Carl Lee Hailey. Jake Brigance accomplished this task beautifully.

Though it took the entire trial for him to realize the power of it, Mr. Brigance finally used the extreme aspect of the rape to his advantage. Of course everybody in the courtroom has been aware of the rape situation for the entire trial, but this was different. When Mr. Brigance goes into excruciating detail of a young girl being raped, it is impossible for any normal human beings to be majorly impacted. It was such horrific act for those men to rape her, that Brigance simply needed to make the jury aware of how extreme it really was.

Works cited

Schumacher,Joel. A Time to Kill . Warner Bros. 1996

Atticus Finch Closing Comments

I want to first acknowledge the resilient and understanding nature of the people of Macomb. The reason that we sit in this very courtroom today is that every man deserves due process. Whether black, white, man or woman…we all are entitled to the process and a fair trial. I know that this town especially will stick to this.

It is simply reality that we live within a society of rampant prejudice. Black men like Tom Robinson himself experience the world completely different than their white counterparts. I am not here to argue my perfection or lack of prejudice. I do not expect widespread equality as a result of this verdict. I am in front of you today because this is a simple and clear cut case. This is no longer about race for me, but fairness. I have been working in the legal system for over 30 years and this is what we strive for on a daily basis. The legal system is meant to establish justice among people…regardless of class,race or gender. I stand before you today because I cannot stand to watch a genuine and hardworking man named Tom Robinson be completely disregarded.

The facts are never ending. We have seen both Mr. Ewell and his daughter appear on this stand. Poor Mayella is clearly very disheveled and confused. She does not know how to act upon this situation. She has been placed in a family that is not easy to live in. With a father who is disapproving and abusive of alcohol, she is constantly put in a position of confusion. Similar to the rest of us, she wants to act in the right way. She wants to do and say the right things, but we cannot forget the barriers that are placed upon Mayella. She must constantly act under fear of her father and this is only logical for her. Though, this cannot be disregarded in the consideration of this case. Mayella was not sitting on this stand in great fear of her alleged rapist. She cannot bear thinking of taking one step that her father disapproves of, knowing the great consequences that will follow for her.

Set aside the overwhelming evidence for Tom Robinson that I have presented to you today. I want you to take a second and imagine Tom Robinson as your own son or brother. Not that it is easy for us to consider a black man as one of us, but it is a simple reality that Tom Robinson is a son and brother. He has a family who loves and cares for him. We all have large expectations for our family. Tom Robinson was living these out. He was being a compassionate and caring man, as we expect from all of our family members. He saw a girl who was in need of help and he acted. He politely went about his work and did this from the bottom of his heart. As a result of this, he was stabbed right in his back. We need more actions like this in our world, yet we want to throw the caregivers in jail! So all I ask you is to think of your own brothers and sons. If you wish for them to be thrown in jail for their good deeds, then treat Tom Robinson as if he were one of your own. If not, give him the same treatment.

Empathy,Justice and the Law response

In his article “Empathy,Justice and the Law”, Martin Hoffman further contributes to the conversation on the role of empathy in legal decisions. Hoffman attempts answer the question of what extent empathy should be used when making decisions in court. His stance on this issue is that empathy is a necessary component for hearing out cases, but it must be in moderation and the person who empathizes must be aware of their feelings of empathy. Hoffman supports this viewpoint with several historical examples in addition to an scientific explanation of human processes (234). Given that the general public sees empathy as having a negative role in court cases, Hoffman brings up some examples of when empathy helped the court to ultimately make a major decision. He talks of cases involving slavery and police interrogation, which are both major changes in American History that may have gone differently without the role of empathy (Hoffman 245). Even while Hoffman has proven the importance of empathy, he still must show that it is realistic for judges to understand their feelings of empathy so it can properly be dealt with. Hoffman explains the in depth stages of empathic development in people and ultimately comes to the conclusion that adults (judges) have the full capability to acknowledge their own feelings of empathy, which he argues is necessary in this process (234). With a solid argument for the importance of empathy, Hoffman uses some counter examples to show the necessity of balance. Hoffman does not argue that empathy is always key and must be present, so he explains that feelings of empathy can be limited by relationships between people along with several other limitations. Through his balance of concrete examples,explanation and counterpoints, Martin Hoffman is able to thoroughly support his thesis on empathy in the courts.
One very important term that is used in Hoffman’s essay is “bias”.This term is used often, but one example is on page 251 where the new section is entitled,”Empathic bias in the courtroom”. While this is a widely known term, it takes a particularly important role and meaning in this essay. This is something that does not support Hoffman’s argument, though it is still integral to it. Hoffman would bias as being something that sways a judgment/decision in a way that is no longer natural,sound or fair. Hoffman mentions that having empathy can often lead to a bias in legal proceedings and this is something that cannot occur. Fairness is one of the most ultimate and important aspects of the courts. The major importance in discussing bias is the fact that it is something that will always be lurking which means that there needs to be caution with empathy. There can be empathy but people need to be aware so that when rulings become swayed or unfair, action must be taken. It is ideal that procedures are taken so that the bias never arises.

 

Works Cited

Hoffman,Martin L. “Empathy, Justice and the Law”.Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives. By Amy Coplan and Peter Goldie. New York: Oxford Scholarship, 2012.