Research Proposal

In this class, we have basically reached a consensus on empathy: How it works? Does it necessarily a beneficial thing for us? What type of empathy, pseudo-empathy or other-oriented empathy, could lead to the real understanding and benign environment both on internet and on reality? However, there is one aspect of empathy that seems to be rarely touched throughout the class: the development of empathy from people’s childhood and adulthood. The third blog post of formal assignment 2 gives me a hint. After reading Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman”, it is clear that only virtual that drives Jean Louis to ease her tense relationship with Atticus and struggle to identify with the town that she grows up is the real empathy. More than that, the kind of other-oriented empathy, is not innate with her. She does not possess that virtue, not until her conversation with her Uncle Jack and intensely reflect both on her experience both in her childhood and in New York. Hence, other-oriented empathy, though might not be an innate ability of all of us, I believe that the other-oriented empathy is the special ability that can be trained and is the symbol of maturity.

 

Under this circumstance, I decide to conduct research to understand how empathy develop in people from their childhood to adulthood? To narrow it down, from the works that I did on the formal2 I know that other-oriented empathy is the real empathy that would be more beneficial to our real life. Therefore, the central question might be how does the other-oriented empathy develops in specific stages of childhood. In order to response to that critical question, I have to, first and foremost, understand how empathy works in different stage of childhood: infanthood and adolescence. By comparing the difference of empathy at two stages of childhood, it would be clear that how the empathy is shaped while a person is approaching to maturity. More than that, it is also of importance to identify the factors that would boost or jeopardize the development of the other-oriented empathy. I would like to link the research proposal with the hot issue: the empathy in digital age. In my perspective, with the unprecedented boom of internet and social media, teenagers’ capability of truly empathizing with other’s with other-oriented empathy is highly compromised. Besides, there is a really interesting point: decades ago, 90 percent of Media Market in United States was controlled by 90 companies.  However, toady, just 6. Finally, I want to discuss whether the overtly development of empathy is a good thing. According to Morton, the ability of empathy with the conductor of atrocious acts takes tons of imagination and experience, which might cause intense emotional distress. When viewed from another angel, does that kind of emotional distress originated from the imagination and experience necessarily a beneficial factor for teenagers’ mental development? According to Smith’s “The “Cost of Caring” in Youths’ Friendships: Considering Associations Among Social Perspective-Taking, Co-Rumination, and Empathetic Distress”, she found that people who are emotionally intelligent are most likely to feel overwhelmed in their effort to care for a friend. Thus, the excessively development of empathy in teenage is “too much of a good thing”.

Potential Reference:

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865622445/Too-much-of-a-good-thing-When-empathy-is-overwhelming.html?pg=all

Smith, RL, and AJ Rose. “The “Cost of Caring” in Youths’ Friendships: Considering Associations among Social Perspective Taking, Co-Rumination, and Empathetic Distress.” DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, vol. 47, no. 6, 2011., pp. 1792-1803doi:10.1037/a0025309.

Pasalich, DS, MR Dadds, and DJ Hawes. “Cognitive and Affective Empathy in Children with Conduct Problems: Additive and Interactive Effects of Callous-Unemotional Traits and Autism Spectrum Disorders Symptoms.” PSYCHIATRY RESEARCH, vol. 219, no. 3, 2014., pp. 625-630doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2014.06.025.

Terry, Christopher, and Jeff Cain. “The Emerging Issue of Digital Empathy.” American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, vol. 80, no. 4, 2016., pp. 1.

Terry, Christopher, and Jeff Cain. “The Emerging Issue of Digital Empathy.” American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, vol. 80, no. 4, 2016., pp. 1.

O’Keeffe, GS, K. Clarke-Pearson, and Council Commun & Media. “Clinical Report-the Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families.” PEDIATRICS, vol. 127, no. 4, 2011., pp. 800-804doi:10.1542/peds.2011-0054.

The Real Empathy Improve Our lives Both On Internet And Reality

We, as the new generation of the undergraduate students, have literally lived in the information-overloaded age. Since the moment that we were born, the internet played an unseparated part throughout our own development. The giant flow of information that comes with the rapid development of the internet undoubtedly brings us a lot of benefits, just as what you are doing: search the key word “empathy” in the search engine. However, we are also exposed to numerous of conflicts on the internet that are caused by people’s incapability of truly understanding the others. Under this circumstance, a major question has raised up: how to truly empathize with others in order to a make benign environment both in internet and the real life?

 

To anwer this very question, wempathye first need our definition of real and pseudo-empathy. In Amy Colpan’s “will the Real Empathy Please Stand Up? a Case for a Narrow Conceptualization.”, she gives the definition of two kinds of empathy. The first one Is self-oriented empathy, pseudo-empathy, in which according to Colpan, “We use our own selves and our responses to various simulated or imagined scenarios as a way to gain access to or understand another person’s situated psychological states”. This would result in inaccurate prediction and failed stimulation of other’s thoughts, feelings and desire, thus setting up such a large number of fight both in reality and internet. The other one is other-oriented empathy, the real empathy, in which “a process through which an observer simulates another’s situated psychological states, while maintaining clear self–other differentiation.”(Colpan). Only by this process, we are able to obtain experimental understanding of another person, the understanding from “inside”. To do so, lots of unnecessary fight will be avoided.

 

In the first post, I reflect “Empathy of The Devil” by Morton, whose mainly concern is why people do not empathize with the atrocious behaviors, and believes that this is because of the barriers of decency, which are same as those they would face in committing atrocious behaviors. In Morton’s perspective, we can display to ourselves an emotion that the perpetuator might have under the situation that she or he conducts atrocious acts, but we cannot understand the reason why the perpetuator passes the barrier of decency to behave atrociously. When viewed from Colpan’s perspective, Morton’s point does not hold water. According to Colpan, this kind of emotion-sharing process is called “Emotional Contagions”, in which we can catch others’ emotion but transmit no understanding. It is clear for us to tell that sometimes people’s incapability or misunderstanding of each other, which would cause fights, is because there are lack of empathy between them. Because of the “Emotional Contagions”, people sometimes just get a sense of emotions by the conductors of, what they might think, atrocious acts. Then massive of accusation would be created by these people who are lack of empathy.

 

In the second post, I discuss the hot issue that is often mentioned by people, Empathy in Digital Age. In my perspective, pseudo-empathy prevails in social media. Because of the short size of each post in social media and lack of face-to-face interation, people would often view other people’s posts with the self-oriented-perspective-taking, which is same as pseudo-empathy according to Colpan. Hence, they would often misunderstand the intention that their author sending these posts. Instead, they would focus on one of the negative points that are indirectly reflected by these post, thus creating the endlessly fight on the social media.

 

In the last one, I state my own point after reading the novel “Go Set a Watchman”.  I believe that the other-oriented empathy is the special ability that can be trained and is the symbol of maturity. originally, owing to lack of empathy, Jean Louis feels unexpectedly shocked by witnessing her father, Atticus, attending a council encouraging segregation between races. By seeing so, her impression of Atticus as an undaunted hero who always pursues justice collapses, thus creating a tense relationship between she and Atticus. However, after several conversations with uncle Jake, she finally eases her tense relationship between her father. This novel also convey idea that with the development toward maturity, people would gradually obtain the ability of empathize with real empathy. In the last post, I illustrate development of a young lady, Jean Louis, in which she is gradually able empathize other with real empathy, though experiencing ups and downs. Eventually, when she is able to understand her father with the real empathy, she not only mitigates her mentally struggling with identifying with the town where she grown up and accepting the inconsistent acts of Atticus in her childhood and her current situation, but also she becomes a wise, independent young lady.

 

To sum up, our human beings have a nature tendency to empathize with self-oriented empathy, pseudo-empathy. That is the reason why there are so many flights on internet and in reality. Nevertheless, in my view, the most effective way to meliorate this situation, no matter in daily reaction and on internet, is to train ourselves to have the ability to empathize with other-oriented perspective, to understand others from within.

Work cited

Lee, Harper. Go Set a Watchman: A Novel, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, NY, 2015.

Ronson, Jon. Part Four, God That Was Awesome, So You’ve been Publicly Shamed, Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), New York, 2015

Morton, Adam. “Empathy for the Devil – Oxford Scholarship.” Empathy for     the Devil – Oxford Scholarship. N.p., 06 Nov. 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.

COPLAN, AMY. “will the Real Empathy Please Stand Up? a Case for a Narrow Conceptualization.” The Southern Journal of Philosophy, vol. 49, 2011., pp. 40-65doi:10.1111/j.2041-6962.2011.00056.x.

 

Introduction draft

 

Welcome to my series of blogposts and thanks for your interests about empathy!

the series of blogposts mainly contain three posts, which explain my own perspective about empathy. In the first post, I reflect on a fairly elusive article “Empathy of The Devil” by Morton, whose mainly concern is why people do not empathy with the atrocious behaviors, and believes that this is because of the barriers of decency, which are same as those they would face in committing atrocious behaviors. I response my disagreement toward it with the reference of the Colpan’s article, “will the Real Empathy Please Stand Up? a Case for a Narrow Conceptualization.”, in which states that there are mainly two kinds two empathy that people have: the first one is Self-oriented empathy, also pseudo-empathy and other-oriented empathy; and we have a nature tendency to empathize with pseudo- empathy. Therefore, we would commit the atrocious acts without any knowing, not to mention empathizing with them. In the second post, I discuss the hot issue that is often mentioned by people, Empathy in Digital Age. In my perspective, pseudo-empathy prevails in social media. Because of the short size of each post in social media, people would often view other people’s posts with the self-oriented-perspective-taking, which is same as pseudo-empathy according to Colpan. Hence, they would often misunderstand the intention that their author sending these posts. Instead, they would focus on one of the negative points that are indirectly reflected by these post, thus creating the endlessly fight on the social media. In the last one, I state my own opinion about the novel “Go Set a Watchman”.  I believe that empathy take significantly important place in the whole novel. originally, owing to lack of empathy, Jean Louis feels unexpectedly shocked by witnessing her father, Atticus, attending a council encouraging segregation between races. By seeing so, her impression of Atticus as an undaunted hero collapses, thus creating a tense relationship between she and Atticus. However, after several conversations with uncle Jake, she finally eases her tense relationship between her father. This novel also convey idea that with the development toward maturity, people would gradually obtain the ability of empathize with real empathy. With the real empathy, people do not need to necessarily agree with the point or behavior of the other. However, they are able to tell why other conduct a specific behavior, and identify whether it is originated from atrocious purpose or goodwill.

Each of three blog posts indicates an important stage, which would guide to my overall viewpoint of empathy. The first blog post makes clear my own definitions of different kinds of empathy, pseudo-empathy and real empathy. My following two posts rest on them to a large extend in order to make my point of empathy clear. The second blog post focuses on making connecting my theory of empathy to the real world. It analyzes the empathy in the Social Media, which is literally playing a major role of the lives of modern citizens. On the other hand, it also testifies Colpan’s point: people have a nature tendency to empathize with pseudo-empathy. In the last post, I illustrate development of a young lady, Jean Louis, in which she is gradually able empathize other with real empathy.  Also, by doing so, it is clear that there are always ups and downs until we can actually adept the very real empathy.

 

 

Work cited

Lee, Harper. Go Set a Watchman: A Novel, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, NY, 2015.

Ronson, Jon. Part Four, God That Was Awesome, So You’ve been Publicly Shamed, Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), New York, 2015

Tsai Ing-wen’s Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=蔡%20英文%20tsai%20ingwen

Morton, Adam. “Empathy for the Devil – Oxford Scholarship.” Empathy for     the Devil – Oxford Scholarship. N.p., 06 Nov. 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.

COPLAN, AMY. “will the Real Empathy Please Stand Up? a Case for a Narrow Conceptualization.” The Southern Journal of Philosophy, vol. 49, 2011., pp. 40-65doi:10.1111/j.2041-6962.2011.00056.x.

http://impakter.com/deconstructing-empathy-in-the-digital-age/

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/1878044/taiwan-opposition-leader-tsai-ing-wens-facebook-page

 

 

 

 

Review about “Go Set A Watchman”

Everybody has their own sense of fairness and justice. In Harper Lee’s “Go Set A Watchman”, Atticus’s character seems to be different a lot from his glory character in “To kill a Mocking bird”, Harper Lee’s another famous novel. In “To Kill a Mocking Bird”, Atticus undauntedly defend an innocent black man who was be charged the crime of rape. However, in “Go Set a Watchman”, Atticus’s impression of a heroic defender racial equality has been override by his attendance to the white-people-council and opinion of encouraging race segregation. This major diverge of Atticus’s attitude toward race has caused her daughter, also the protagonist of “Go Set a Watchman” to frustratingly confuse and, at the first time, realize her own sense of an independent human being.

 

First and foremost, I would like to talk about Atticus. There is, seemingly, a major gap between Atticus’s attitude toward black people in “To kill a Mocking bird” and “Go set a watchman”. Some states that Atticus’s attitude indeed change rapidly because there is a big time gap between Atticus; other people would like to say that, Atticus is racist from the very beginning and probably because of the sick that he suffers in “Go Set a Watchman”, he reveals his true self when his old. From my perspective, I would like to say that Atticus’s character is consistence in two novels but I would still not consider him a racist. Although it seems to be a major change in his attitude toward black people, at least one virtual within him does not change: his pursuit for fairness. Therefore, this pursuit of fairness drove him to defend the innocent colored man. Beside, also thanks to this pursuit of justice, he holds the view that it is improper for the colored men, who are rude, uneducated and lazy to live with the superior white people. This might sound a bit erratic. However, it makes sense when we take the living environment of Atticus into account. Atticus grown up and lives in a southern respectful white family. In this environment, no matter members in his family or in his whore neighborhood are all sending him the same massage that white people is superior and segregation is good for the development of the whole community. Hence, it is clear that because Atticus takes the segregation as fair, his decision to encourage segregation has not thing to do with racism.

 

What’s more, the protagonist, Jean Louise, in the novel does not seem to be so impeccable as the author describe to be. The most outstanding point is when she talks with her uncle she said that there are no reasons for her to marry a negro who is not her own kind. Without doubt, Jean Louise is not as “color blinded” as she considers her to be. Moreover, she seems to be the people who would react drastically when people disagree with her. Although she is same as her father who persist to follow their own sense of justice, this shortcoming would cause her incapability to empathize other who disagree with her.  This might be part of the reason why Atticus seems to change so rapidly in “Go Set a Watchman”. It is partly because the whole novel is written based on Jean Louise perspective and the mental description of her is so skew to the side that Atticus is a racist.

 

 

Lee, Harper. Go Set a Watchman: A Novel, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, NY, 2015.

 

Pseudo-Empathy in Digital Age

Nowadays, we have entered in a world that is never be so connected before. With the unprecedented boom of internet and social media, people are able to share their pleasant moments, feelings and viewpoints in a worldwide scale. However, pseudo-empathy prevails. Internet and social media could sever as the amplifier to lay stress on the trivial points in short passages that are not even noticed by the people who post them. In “God That Was Awesome”, the author fully illustrates such a destructive power of social media. Justine Sacco, a young and aspiring who worked in a PR department in a magazine publisher. Everything went so well, not until her pressed “sent” on her little tweet teasing her impossibility of having AIDS, before her departure to a family trip to South Africa. In that tweet, she made fun about her impossibility of getting HIV in Africa, because she is white. After tweeting that joke, her life was rapidly changed.  It seemed like people from all over the world were accusing her as a racist on tweeter. She was being stocked, receive threads and lost her promising job. In the article, its author, John Ronson, put forward a new term: public shaming. In public shaming, people have a tendency to agree on a specifically shared moral standard, condemn the people who violate this set of standard and see these people being punished. Ronson, in his article, states that this kind of shaming in the social media is outstanding, partly because of the anonymity within the social media. He criticized this phenomenon and said that: “it felt like we are soldiers making war on others’ flaws, and there had suddenly been an escalation on hostiles.” (90)

Indeed, the public shaming in social media, Social Media shaming is the exact spot where pseudo-empathy permeates through its users’ minds. While using the social media, people are so obsessed with accusing others by applying their moral sense, which comes from their living environments and is deeply embedded into their minds, to pursuit the justice in their minds. By doing so, they even are willing to impose the people who, in their perspective, made little mistake, severe punishments that way exceed they deserve.  In this situation, pseudo-empathy takes major responsibility to such radical reactions that people show while using social media. People would like empathize with the person who sent “wrong” message and viewpoint in the social media from a self-oriented perspective. In another word, they try to grasp the person’s purpose of sending the “wrong” viewpoints and often consider the purpose as evil, because their empathy is pseudo-empathy but not real empathy.

Moreover, I notice an interesting point in Ronson’s interview with Justine. Justine told author that the joke that she posted on tweet was acceptable within her community and she had no idea that her little joke would cause so many social attentions at the very beginning. I cannot help to think of another case that is somehow similar to the situation above. At the beginning of this year, Tsai Ing-wen was elected as the president of Taiwan. As the first female president of Taiwan, she implied that Taiwan now not belongs to China, and she will manage the relationship between China and Taiwan in order to magnified the welfare of Taiwan citizens. This political view, though seemed sound for Taiwan citizen, greatly violated the moral standard of Chinese Citizens, who had been inform that Taiwan is an unseparated part of China through generations. Chinese Citizens soon began to leave tons of comments under Tsai Ing-wen’s Facebook. Although some of them were rational analyzations of the relationship of Taiwan and China, most of them were pointless mockery and verbal attack. They blamed that the political view of Tsai Ing-wen did not match their own sense of moral standard. The size of comment from Chinese citizen grown so fast that Taiwan citizen also took part in commenting. They tried to contest the opinion of Chinese citizens through variety of ways. The debate was so intense that it soon gained the worldwide attention and, after Tsai Ing-wen closed down the commend section, it began to fade away. From the two examples that I listed above, it is clear that, due to the divergent of moral standards and pseudo-empathy within the social media, people tend to judge other people harshly according to their own sense of morality.

To sum up, thanks to the pseudo-empathy that people usually adept to measure others on social media, it is hard for people to truly empathize others. The empathetic feeling of social shaming will urge people to start war on the viewpoints that does not match their moral standards. Therefore, the empathy in social media tends to drive people to be more cynical.

Work Cited:

Ronson, Jon. Part Four, God That Was Awesome, So You’ve been Publicly Shamed, Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), New York, 2015

Tsai Ing-wen’s Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=蔡%20英文%20tsai%20ingwen

Summery and Disagree with “Empathy For the Devil” by Adam Morton

In the article “Empathy of The Devil”, Adam Morton mainly address the question:  why people can emphasize with the motive of the atrocious behaviors by others but will not do those themselves and why people have the tendency to conduct atrocious behavior because of the type of empathetic behavior they pick? To begin with, according to the author, people are able to know why other perform an act but it is not the same as knowing why that person did that but not the other share the strong motive. Author states that is owing to the barrier of decency: we can grasp or even have the motive to conduct atrocious behavior, but in order to truly do the atrocious behavior ourselves, we have to overcome the barriers based on fear, sympathy, disgust or decency. Then the author uses that example of A-assault and X-taxi to illustrate that people could decide whether to past a barrier by imagining the outcome of pasting barrier. More than that, the author talks about the choices of empathetic options.  He explains why “sometimes people would empathize with the atrocious act by focusing on a venial one” (326).The author believes that the empathy that people have, in this case, is pseudo-empathy. Pseudo-empathy is an empathetic feeling aiming to ease the daily interaction between people rather than true understanding. This kind of empathy would drive people pass the barriers, even with moral seriousness. In conclusion, the author hopes us can choose our empathetic emotion wisely.

From my perspective, some of the author’s points are untenable. First and foremost, at the first part of the article, the author states that people can sometime know the motive of the others to conduct atrocious behavior by their own empathy, but sometimes they won’t do the atrocious behavior themselves because of barriers. However, I think the emotion state above is not even in the category of empathy. It is only the emotional contagion. According to Amy Copan, in contrast to most of the other emotional processes referred to as empathy, emotional contagion typically puts one in an emotional state that is experienced as one’s own, that is, not in relation to the individual whose emotion leads to the contagion response. It is clear for us to grasp that knowing the motive and sharing the emotion of others who conduct atrocious act is not empathy because it does not involve in perspective-taking. The purpose of this kind of sharing emotion is to alert us to avoid harm and approach rewards. Secondly, author’s definition of pseudo-empathy in the article is not so clear. According to Amy, pseudo empathy is a kind of self-oriented perspective taking:

acknowledge that self-oriented perspective taking occurs. In fact, it is our default mode of metalizing (i.e., attempting to understand and predict others’ mental states).23 Thus, in anticipating another’s psychological states or behavior, we typically imagine ourselves in the other’s circumstances. Our engagement with the other, in this case, focuses on the other’s external situation, yet we are the ones in the situation.

Because, in the emotional state of pseudo-empathy, why only imagine ourselves in other’s situation, this will lead to the misunderstanding of others. In this case we might conduct atrocious behavior ourselves, or cross the barriers, just as what Morton says.

In conclusion, that sometimes we can understand the motive and emotions of the people who conduct atrocious behavior is not because we empathize with them but because we are in an emotional contagion with them so that we would not do the atrocious behaviors ourselves. The only thing that we need to keep in mind is the pseudo-empathy. That is: we have a nature tendency to take self-oriented perspective taking in response to others’ situations, which will lead to the misunderstanding of others. By doing so, it is easy for us to conduct indecent behavior.

Work Cited:

Morton, Adam. “Empathy for the Devil – Oxford Scholarship.” Empathy for     the Devil – Oxford Scholarship. N.p., 06 Nov. 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.

COPLAN, AMY. “will the Real Empathy Please Stand Up? a Case for a Narrow Conceptualization.” The Southern Journal of Philosophy, vol. 49, 2011., pp. 40-65doi:10.1111/j.2041-6962.2011.00056.x.

 

 

Formal Assignment 1 Final Draft

Empathy, justice and Law in A Time To Kill

 

Without any doubt, A Time To Kill is a fantastic movie and its original purpose is to promote justice among the community of black and white people. It, indeed, did a very good job on such things by successfully invoking empathy in its viewers. However, when it comes to the question of whether empathy promote justice in A Time To Kill, my answer is NO. In my perspective, empathic feeling in A Time To Kill played such an important role that it overdid the rule of promoting justice and, furthermore, encourages some form of unfairness both in the jurors and our viewers.

 

  • About Empathy and Justice

 

First and foremost, I want to give my own definition of justice. What is justice? Some might said that it is a form of legal equality, so that each people can live in a fair environment under the governing of law. Other people would like to say that justice is a sense of utilitarianism, in which the best moral action is the one that maximizes utility. To me, justice is a form of fairness, in which the legal right, moral quality and personal benefits are impartially distributed. In another words, each of us is to have an equal right to the most extensive total system of equal basic liberties. To do so, we should not maximize our own welfare by sacrificing other’s benefit to a greater extend. What’s more, our human beings have a strong preference of justice. We often associate our empathetic feeling with our antipathy of injustice. According to Hoffman, “empathic feeling of injustice and anger” is form under the process that one first responds empathically to someone in distress, then, realizing the cause is an injustice transforms the empathic distress in to an empathic feeling of injustice (237). This form of empathic feeling would boost people to change laws and promote justice. However, it would also instigate people to do something unfair in responds to other’s injustice situation, just as the themes in the movie.

What’s more, I want to state my definition of empathy. In my opinion, empathy is an emotional state when one is putting oneself into other’s shoes and affectively feeling what other feels, just as the “affective empathy” by Hoffman (230). However, sympathy, or according to Hoffman: “cognitive empathy”, is a feeling that one has the awareness of other’s feeling. These two kinds of empathy that I mentioned above can serve as catalysts to boost people to help. In another word, empathy can act as a motive. When people witness someone in distress, they would feel empathetically distressed and willing to help, even their empathetic targets are strangers (Hoffman 231). Under this intense empathetic pulse of helping others, people would even be willing to break the protocol. Admittedly, when we talk about empathy, we might usually refer to good value, such as helping people, changing laws and promoting justice. However, empathy itself has its own limitations. Although it is a clear pro-social motive, empathy is limited by its fragility, dependence on the salience and intensity of distress cues and susceptibility to one’s relationship to the victim (250 Hoffman).  Empathic distress would increase with the intensity of victims’ distress. It means that when someone sense the intensity of the victims’ distress, they may no longer be able to think as a bystander without his or her personal bias. The empathic distress in the victim is so intense that drives him or her to help the victim he or she empathize, despite the fact that the action he or she conduct, in this situation, might not meet the standard of justice. Besides, people have the tendency to empathize more with kin, friends and their own ethic group, which is call “in-group bias” according to Hoffman (251). In addition, the physical present of the victim would also intensify jurors’ empathy. These three types of limitation of empathy have especially damaging effect in the courtroom, which may cause the jurors to abandon their former thoughts and came up with a decision that seemed no so fair. Also, they are the very factors that the movie counted on to promote some form of injustice to the viewers.

 

  • How injustice cause by A Time To Kill with the use of empathy

 

When we analyze the movie with the factors that I mentioned above, we would easily discover what the movie aimed to promote with the utilize of empathy, which might be seemingly right when we are watching the movie, is not so fair.

From the perspective of jurors. It is for sure that Jake’s closing argument invoke empathy in the jurors. At the very beginning of his closing argument, he first apologized to the jurors. He said that:

 

“I’m here to apologize. I am young and I am inexperienced. But you cannot hold Carl Lee Hailey responsible for my shortcomings. You see, in all this legal maneuvering something has gotten lost, and that something is the truth.” (TK)

 

By doing so, he immediately drawn the attention and empathy from the jurors, because the jurors are mainly white, who although might not be able to empathize with Carl Lee as far, they could, without doubt, empathized with Jake, a young, handsome, white male layer. Under this circumstance, Jake was able to seize this very kind of appreciative empathy so that he got the change of asking the jurors to listen to his storytelling and reflect upon it with their own imagination. In his story, he depicted how two hateful white men raped, tortured and even tried to kill the girl. Most importantly, at the end of his closing statement, he choked with his tear almost fall down and dropped the most powerful statement of his speech: “Now imagine that she is a white.” (TK) Afterward, the jurors’ empathic feeling toward Carl Lee had so been immediately amplified that they changed their mind from considering Carl Lee, who butchered two armless white people, guilty to believe that he was innocent. When viewed from the factors that I list above, it would be clear that the closing argument of Jake not only encourage empathy but also rely on the limitations of the empathy within white jurors. The most obvious factor lies in the final sentence of the statement “Now imagine that she is white” (TK). This sentence drew the in-group bias among the white jurors (250 Hoffman). It rapidly shortened the mental gap created by the racism of black and white so that the jurors could, at the first time, view the little girl and Carl Lee as ones of their community and empathize with them. What’s more, this closing argument also attribute to the factor the salience effect. Jake intensified jurors’ empathic feeling to Carl Lee by vividly depicting the theme of his daughter getting rape in order to inform them the intensity of distress that the victim, Carl Lee, was in. By witnessing the strong intense of the victim Carl Lee, the juror’s empathetic feelings were invoked. They, at the very first time, begun to feel in Carl Lee’s way. However, Carl Lee’s way of feel was so correspondent to this intense distress he was in. In addition to the presence of Carl Lee in the court room with a desperate gesture, the limitation of empathy is caused and the negative effect of it urged the jurors to make an injustice decision to regard Carl Lee as innocent.

From the prospective of the viewers, the movie does not encourage them to be “judicious spectators”. Instead, the film rests on evoking intense emotions in the viewers to promote injustice. According to Nussbaum, “judicious spectators” are the people who guild by the good emotions but are capable of making judgement excluding their personal bias (73). By the delicate arrangement of themes, the movie managed to letting the intense emotions, which it invoked in the viewer, to override their rational judgement. At the very opening theme of the movie, it depicted how two hateful young white men robbed the grocery store owned by Carl Lee in a bullying manner and how they thrown cans to little black kids in order to arouse the views’ disgust. In the following theme, the movie went ahead and depicted how these two white men pulled off their trunk in the road and raped an innocent underage black girl they just saw. Most importantly, they used the first-person-sight of the girl to depict the theme of two white men’s intercourse with this poor little girl (TK). By doing so, in merely about twenty minutes from the start of the movie, it successfully piqued the emotions of anger, shock, pettiness and empathy of the viewers. Moreover, the movie amplified the views’ intense emotions through the depiction of the misconduct behavior of the members of KKK and the racist leader of the jurors, who urged the jurors to stand on the side that Carl Lee was guilty (TK). In addition, the movies’ unique demonstrate of the ups and downs of Jake solving the case further justified the behavior of him to speak with the injustice. By watching the movie, viewers could fully realize the hardships of him to solve this case so that a large number of them would consider the purpose of him to defend Carl Lee’s action of killing two unarmed white people as justified. The attempt of the movie to make the viewers ignore the factor that Carl Lee’s guilty behavior of killing two unarmed white people also lies in the imbalance amount of time and energy it devoted to two white people’s rape, the unfair social status of colored man and Carl Lee’s killing. In the movie, it took less than two minute to inform the views that Carl Lee’s killing, without further explanation or emphasis. However, the time and effort it paid to the side against Carl Lee are numerous, such as the astute mid-age lawyer speaking in a gloat manner, the riot caused by K.K.K. and the kidnapping of Jake’s assistant in order to prevent her from helping Jake win the case and incendiary that burned his house to ashes as a threat (TK). They take place in the movie in its beginning till the end. Under the demonstration to such an imbalance demonstration of information of each side, a large quantity of viewers’ original judgement of right and wrong is skewed. They begin to view the people against Carl Lee and Jake were guilty and Carl Lee’s butchering behavior was unimpeachable. In short, the movie, though indeed invoked empathy in its views, did not aim to encourage its viewer to be “judicious viewers”, not to mention promote justice in the viewers.

At the end, it is also clear that this film does not coextensive with the law. Under the governing of the Laws, there are no reasons one people who can execute the law himself. Admittedly, the two hateful white people were guilty. However, there are still no ways that Carl Lee could butcher these two people himself, without the authentic approval. Furthermore, according to this film, what it encouraged probably is that when someone hurt the people closed to one, it is one’s own right to punish this people with brutal way of killing. All in all, this film, though seeming promoting the equality of races, did not coextensive with the law.

 

Work Cited

Martin L. Hoffman. “Empathy, Justice and Law”. Empathy: Philosophical and                                        Psychological Perspectives. Oxford University Press. 2014. 213-254

 

A Time to Kill (Motion Picture: 1996), Directed by Joel Schumacher, 1996.

 

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

Formal Assignment1

Empathy, justice and Law in A Time To Kill

Without any doubt, A Time To Kill is a fantastic movie and its original purpose is to promote justice among the community of black and white people. It, indeed, did a very good job on such things by successfully invoking empathy in its viewers. However, when it comes to the question of whether empathy promote justice in A Time To Kill, my answer might be NO. In my perspective, empathic feeling in A Time To Kill played such an important role that it might overdo the rule of promoting justice and, furthermore, encourage some form of unfairness within our society by the means of stealing concepts.

 

First and foremost, I want to state my definition of empathy. In my opinion, empathy is an emotional state when one is putting oneself into other’s shoes and affectively feeling what other feel’s, just as the “affective empathy” by Hoffman (230). However, sympathy, or according to Hoffman: “cognitive empathy” , is a feeling that one has the awareness of other’s feeling.

These two kinds of empathy that I mentioned above can serve as catalysts to boost people to help. In another word, empathy can act as a motive. When people witness someone in distress, they would feel empathetically distressed and willing to help, even their empathetic targets are strangers (Hoffman 231). Under this intense empathetic pulse of helping others, people would even be willing to break the protocol. This kind of special emotional state, in my opinion, greatly contribute to the change of original decision among the jurors.

 

Secondly, in order to make things clear, I want to give my own definition of justice. What is justice? Some might said that it is a form of legal equality, so that each people would live in a fair environment under the governing of law. Other people would like to say that justice is a sense of utilitarianism, in which the best moral action is the one that maximizes utility. To me, justice is a form of fairness, in which the goods are impartially distributed. In another words, each of us is to have an equal right to the most extensive total system of equal basic liberties. To do so, we should not maximize our own welfare by sacrificing other’s benefit to a greater extend. What’s more, our human beings have a strong preference of justice. We often associate out empathetic feeling with our detest of injustice. According to Huffman, “empathic feeling of injustice and anger” is form under the process that one first responds empathically to someone in distress, then, realizing the cause is an injustice transforms the empathic distress in to an empathic feeling of injustice. This form of empathic feeling would boost people to change laws and promote justice. However, it would also instigate people to do something unfair in responds to other’s injustice situation, just as the themes in the movie.

 

What’s more, when we talk about empathy, we might usually refer it to good value, such as helping people, changing laws and promoting justice. However, empathy itself has its own limitations. Although it is a clear pro-social motive, empathy is limited by its fragility, dependence om the salience and intensity of distress cues and susceptibility to one’s relationship to the victim (250 Hoffman).  Empathic distress would increase with the intensity of victims’ distress. It means that when someone sense the intensity of the victims’ distress, they may no longer be able to think as a bystander without his or her personal bias. However, the empathic distress in this person is so intense that drives him or her to help the victim he or she empathize, despite the fact that the action he or she conduct, in this situation, might not meet the standard of justice. Besides, people have an tendency to empathize more with kin, friends and their own ethic group, which is call “in-group bias” according to Huffman(251). In addition, the physical present of the victim would also intensify jurors’ empathy. These three types of limitation of empathy have especially damaging effect in the courtroom, which may cause the jurors to abandon their former thought and came up with a decision that seemed no so fair.

 

When we analyze the movie with the factors that I mentioned above, we would easily discover what the movie aimed to promote with the utilize of empathy, which might be seemingly right when we are watching the movie, is not so fair. It is for sure that Jake’s closing argument invoke empathy in both the jurors and viewers. At the very beginning of his closing argument, he first apologized to the jurors. He said that: “

I’m hear to apologize. I am young and I am inexperienced. But you cannot hold Carl Lee Hailey responsible for my shortcomings. You see, in all this legal maneuvering something has gotten lost, and that something is the truth.”(TK)

By doing so, he immediately drawn the attention and empathy from the jurors, because the jurors are mainly white, who although might not be able to empathize with Carl Lee as far, they could, without doubt, empathized with Jake, a young, handsome, white male layer. Under this circumstance, Jake was able to seize this very kind of appreciative empathy so that he got the change of asking the jurors to listen to his storytelling and flex upon it with their own imagination. In his story, he depicted how two hateful white men raped, tortured and even tried to kill the girl. Most importantly, at the end of his closing statement, he choked with his tear almost fall down and dropped the most powerful statement of his speech: “Now imagine that she is a white.” (TK) Afterward, the jurors’ empathic feeling toward Carl Lee had so been immediately amplified that they changed their mind from considering Carl Lee, who butchered two armless white people, guilty to believe that he was innocent. When viewed from the factors that I lists above, it would be clear that the closing argument of Jake not only encourage empathy but also rely on the limitations of the empathy within white jurors. The most obvious factor lies in the final sentence of the statement “Now imagine that she is white”. This sentence drew the in-group bias among the white jurors. It rapidly shortened the mental gap between the racism of black and white so that the jurors could, at the first time, view the little girl and Carl Lee as ones of their community and empathize with them. What’s more, this closing argument also attribute to the factor the salience effect. Jake intensified jurors’ empathic feeling to Carl Lee by vividly depicting the theme of his daughter getting rape in order to inform them the intensity of distress that the victim, Carl Lee, was in. In addition to the presence of Carl Lee in the court room with a desperate gesture, the negative effect cause by limitations of empathy urged the jurors to make an injustice decision to regard Carl Lee as innocent.

 

From the prospective of the viewers, the movie does not encourage them to be “judicious spectators”. According to Nussbum, “judicious spectators ” are the people who guild by the good emotions but are capable of making judgement excluding their personal bias(73). However, the movie is so established on evoking the intense emotions in the views, such as empathy, anger and shock. To do so, their purpose might be to stealing the concept of the viewers. Through depicting several themes, they managed to making the viewers to ignore the fact that Carl Lee killed two unarmed people and invoking views’ empathy to Carl Lee. The night before the final judgement, Carl Lee Hailey invoked the empathy in Jake and boosted Jake to think about the experience of him as a first-personal-view colored man. Before the day of the final judgement, Carl Lee talked to Jake in a half complaining and half accusing manner. He said that the reason why he chose Jake as his attorney was because he was “one of the bad guys”, which meant that Jake shared the perspective with the jurors so that he was of bigger possibility to come up with a way to win the case. On the other hand, Carl also thought that Jake was different from the other white people, because he believed that Jake was the person who pursuits fairness and justice. However, his view as toppled, when Jake mentioned the different of outcomes of losing the case between him and Carl. In response to Jake’s statement, Carl said desperately that: “you are just one of them; you never shown up at our place and our children will never play together”. The desperate speaking of Carl made Jake resonate with the feeling of Carl. He started to truly empathize with him as a first-person-view colored man and apply that to the group of white people rather than just think about how to win the case and promote justice as a lawyer. Therefore, during the closing statement, he abandoned his original work, which might be full of mundane technical worlds, and went for a personal statement,making full use of appeal to pathos. By doing so, this movie not only invoked Jake’s empathy, but also viewers’. By showing the inferior condition that Carl Lee were in, they successfully win the empathy of viewer’s toward Carl Lee. Moreover, By showing the misconduct of two white people, who robbed a black-man-owned stored, raped and attempted to murder an underage black girl on purpose, and party Klan, in which hateful people tried to maintain the permanent ruling position of white people by conduction violent and illegal crime, the movie managed to invoke the empathetic feeling of the viewers toward Jake and Carl Lee. Even me once considered Carl as innocent when I was watching the movie. Also, the action of Klan invoked the empathy in the masses to ward Carl, too. Therefore, it was a combination effect. However, as a judicious viewer, I think the depiction of the Klan was just an apparent invocation of empathy. Apart from merely invoking empathy, it also arouses the anger of the injustice between the social status of colored men and white men and about the ways that the colored men were treated. This type of feeling of anger would combine with the empathic feeling to form the “The empathic feeling of injustice”. Holding this feeling, this movie successfully convinces a large number of viewers that Carl Lee was innocent is a fair judgement.  In short, the movie, though indeed invoke empathy in its views, did not aim to encourage its viewer to be “judicious viewers”.

 

At the end, it is also clear that this film coextensive with the law. Under the governing of the Laws, there are no reasons one people who can execute the law himself. Admittedly, the two hateful white people were guilt. However, there are still no ways that Carl Lee could butcher these two people himself, without the authentic approval. Furthermore, according to this film, what it encouraged probably is that when someone hurt the people closed to you, it is your own right to punish this people with brutal way of killing. All in all, this film, though seeming promoting the equality of races, did not coextensive with the law.

Work Cited

Martin L. Hoffman. “Empathy, Justice and Law”. Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives. Oxford University Press. 2014. 213-254

 

A Time to Kill (Motion Picture: 1996), Directed by Joel Schumacher, 1996.

 

WRT105E Feeling Good-Empathy and Ethics in-class discussion, Dustin Hannum, 2016.

 

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

 

 

 

 

Blog Assignment3

Undoubtedly, A Time To Kill is an excellent movies. It perhaps was the best movies that I ever watched in last week. According to the movie, there are two character who successfully arose empathy in another character. The first one was the defendant, Carl Lee Hailey, who invoked the empathy in Jake and boosted Jake to think about the experience of him as a first-personal-view colored man. By doing so, Jake overturned the inferior position and won the case with flying color. Before the day of the final judgement, Carl Lee talked to Jake in a half complaining and half accusing manner. He said that the reason why he chose Jake as his attorney was because he was “one of the bad guys”, which meant that Jake shared the perspective with the jurors so that he was of bigger possibility to come up with a way to win the case. On the other hand, Carl also thought that Jake was different from the other white people, because he believed that Jake was the person who pursuits fairness and justice. However, his view as toppled, when Jake mentioned the different of outcomes of losing the case between him and Carl. In response to Jake’s statement, Carl said desperately that: “you are just one of them; you never shown up at our place and our children will never play together”. The desperate speaking of Carl made Jake resonate with the feeling of Carl. He started to truly empathize with him as a first-person-view colored man and apply that to the group of white people rather than just think about how to win the case and promote justice as a lawyer. Therefore, during the closing statement, he abandoned his original work, which might be full of mundane technical worlds, and went for a personal statement,making full use of appeal to pathos. In his closing statement, he vividly depicted how an innocent young girl got rape and torqued in the way from grocery to home by two hateful whited men and encourage to jurors to image that girl was a white people. By doing so, Jake accomplished to invoked empathy in the juror. Hence, it is not hard for us to tell that Jake was the second character who dig out other characters’ empathy.

 

Besides, the movie did a great job at invoking the viewer’s empathy too. By showing the misconduct of two white people, who robbed a black-man-owned stored, raped and attempted to murder an underage black girl on purpose, and party Klan, in which hateful people tried to maintain the permanent ruling position of white people by conduction violent and illegal crime, the movie managed to invoke the empathetic feeling of the viewers toward Jake and Carl Lee. Even me once considered Carl as innocent when I was watching the movie. Also, the action of Klan invoked the empathy in the masses to ward Carl, too. Therefore, it was a combination effect.

However, as a judicious viewer, I think the depiction of the Klan was just an apparent invocation of empathy. Apart from merely invoking empathy, it also arouses the anger of the injustice between the social status of colored men and white men and about the ways that the colored men were treated. This type of feeling of anger would combine with the empathic feeling to form the “the empathic feeling of injustice”. Holding this feeling, this movie successfully convince a large number of viewers that Carl Lee was innocent is a fair judgement.

 

 

Preference:

 

Nussbaum, Martha Craven. “Rational Emotions.” Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life. Boston, MA: Beacon, 1995. N. pag. Print.

Time to Kill (Motion Picture: 1996)–electronic Press Kit. 1996.

Blog Assignment2

At the very end of this court, as merely a US citizen, I should say that I would like to send my empathy to Mayella, not because of her experience of intercourse with a colored man but because of her ignorance and foolish reaction of breaking the taboo herself. In our current society, it is an inexcusable for white woman fault to seduce a colored man. Mayella just did so and, more than that, she not only kissed him and tried to intercourse with him, but also she was spot by her father, Bob Edwell. Most importantly, who she tempted was a grown, strong nigger. Such a miscreant misconduct! If this spread as a scandal, how will her life be? How will be the damaging effect that will pose to her entire family? No matter how, those were going to be the matters that they could not accept. Especially, those were the matters that she could not accept. She, therefore, made a decision to destroy the only people who was able to expose this scandal. She pretended herself as a victim. She charged Tom, the innocent colored man, under the crime of rape. It is probably because she, as a white woman, she knew for sure that she could will the sympathy within the juries; she knew the hierarchy within our society that white people are always over niggers; she knew that, thanks to the hierarchy, people would not bear a colored man feeling sorry for a white woman who he copulated with; she knew that people possess the stereotype that nigger are always liars and evils.

 

However, when we dig deep to her thought, we could find one thing that might be wrong. Colored men are not always liars nor evil. They can be the law-binding citizen who are industrious and willing to help. Just as defendant, tom was a law-binding worker and the helpful nature of him drive him to enter Malleya’s room to fix her sound door without a second thought.  Then, he was seduced by the woman, who asked him for help, and now is charging him for crime, just because she could not accept the impact of her behavior. Mellaya, in this case, is the people who is really guilty and need empathy.

 

Then, when we think about what she just talked, we can easily extract the point that she was not telling the truth. She said that Tom strike her at her right face and try to strangle her. However, as we previously demonstrated, Tom ‘s left hand was disable when he was 12 so that he could neither strike Mellaya’s right face with his left hand nor strangle her, which required the effort combined by two hands. I know the fact that I just stated might be a bit challenge to the preconception toward this case of you own. Some people even wanted to distort the fact in order to let the hold case make sense to their stereotype of colored people and the sympathy of Mellaya.

 

Gentlemen, this is not a call for equality of all race. This is just merely a call of justice. And here where I am standing and where you guys are all sitting is a place that stands for the quality of all citizen. We would not kill a mocking bird because it always sings beautiful song to us. As is Tom, an upright, straightforward colored man who is always willing to help. Hence, Gentleman, I beg you to stand for justice and punish the people who is really guilty.