research proposal

In the earlier semester of the class, we talked about the role of empathy in the courtroom and under the rule of law. In order to become a judicious spectator in the trial, empathy is an essential judicial attribute when we put ourselves into “certain context of others” to deal with the lawsuits. As for the law-making and changing systems, the ability to take the perspectives of others improves deficient protections and prohibition in different conditions. Furthermore, lawyers should develop empathic communication skills that will facilitate initial rapport between them and their clients. And also in the courtroom, jurors’ accurate understanding of others’ situation and empathy without limitation are necessary to provide justice under the rule of law. The correlation between empathy and law, or between empathy and law prosecutors, such as lawyers, law-makers and jurors, is inseparable. For the sake of creating a humane and equal society, empathy should take place as a foundation of law.

 

Sources:

Dubber, Markus D. The Sense of Justice: Empathy in Law and Punishment, New York University Press, New York, 2006.

Massaro, Toni M. “Empathy, Legal Storytelling, and the Rule of Law: New Words, Old Wounds?” Michigan Law Review, vol. 87, no. 8, 1989., pp. 2099-2127.

Little, Laura E. “NEGOTIATING THE TANGLE OF LAW AND EMOTION the Passions of Law. Edited by Susan A. Bandes.” Cornell Law Review, vol. 86, 2001., pp. 974-1386.

Barkai, John L., and Virginia O. Fine. “Empathy Training for Lawyers and Law Students.”Southwestern University Law Review, vol. 13, no. 3, 1983., pp. 505.

Massaro, Toni M. “Empathy, Legal Storytelling, and the Rule of Law: New Words, Old Wounds?” Michigan Law Review, vol. 87, no. 8, 1989., pp. 2099-2127.

Empathy Reveals the Veil of Cruelty

Empathy is like an iceberg and when penetrating the meaning of the word “empathy”, plenty of scholars contend their own thoughtful definitions and explanations. Besides the meaning of “empathy” itself, people extend to explore the reasons and the methods of attaching empathy rationally and accurately. However, instead of shrinking our scope on delving how and why we should generate empathy, I prefer to neglect the consummate ideality of empathy initially and bring empathy into practice and see what can eventually come out.

After comprehending Adam Morton article “Empathy for the devil”, two eminent novels “Go Set a Watchman” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” written by Nelle Harper Lee and Jon Ronson’s article about social media “God that was Awesome”, I found empathy reveals the veil of cruelty. There are surface and potential meanings of the term “cruelty”. Initially, superficially cruelty can be the evils in Morton’s article whose misbehaviors are not easily forgivable and understandable, can be the indifferent social media which enables people to judge others based on anonymity, and also can be Jean Louise’s vehemently disagreement and furious abomination of her father Atticus Finch. However, without the role of empathy, the instinct humanity and morality of human nature prevent people from acknowledging the existent cruelty. In this circumstance, valuable ethics become a blocking wall of feeling the devils and the purpose of empathy is to destroy this impediment. It is empathy that allows people with decency and morality accurately understanding the devils, enables the users of social media to be aware of the potentially vicious slander when commenting on others and let Jean Louise generate complicated emotions to her beloved father.

empathyblindnessFurthermore, potential and subsequent cruelty occur when people dedicate themselves to fully empathize with others but sometimes eventually the limitations of empathy and misunderstandings of others come out. For instance, pseudo-empathy is generated because of the lack of understanding as Adam Morton says “a connection with an evil action that preserves moral character at the price of describing the wrong kind of barrier, such as decency and morality toward devils or disgusting things, makes pseudo-empathy, an empathetic feeling that is not accompanied by understanding”. (Morton 327) Moreover, people hold wrong understanding of the unseen people in the social media as the scholar Martin L. Hoffman says that “the limitations of empathy include that we empathize with people nearby and empathize more to physically present people than potentially unseen people.” (Hoffman 251) Knowing the surface of the facts without exploring the roots and the backgrounds of the people in social media, people tend to be cruel and their unintentional comments turn out to be trenchant sword to hurt others mentally and even physically. Third, for the main character Jean in “Go Set a Watchman”, Jean Louise relies on her father’s belief and has enormous “self-oriented” empathy but lack of independent conscience pursuing and “other-oriented” empathy. (Hoffman 233) When she empathizes that Atticus changes into a mature and “flawed” conscience, she starts to resist everyone who has different attitude from her. Her indifference and rigorous antipathy hurt people who cherish her most and make everyone suffer because her limitation of empathy.

To elaborate, as for the blog post 4, I illustrate that potential cruelty appears when people conduct empathy only based on the recall of their own experience instead of completely placing themselves in others’ situation. I also have a disagreement of Adam Morton’s definition of pseudo-empathy and assert that “self-focused” (recalling own experience) should be in accordance with “other-focused”. I summarize Adam Morton’s two examples and instance an example related to my own experience to demonstrate my perspective. Furthermore, I adopt a scholar source written by Coplan Amy to support my argument that in order to fully understand and get rid of pseudo-empathy, both “self-oriented” perspective and “other-oriented” perspective is needed to be taken into consideration.

In the blog post 5, I assert that the anonymous character of Internet is misused by public and the cruelty appears when the public tend to wrongly empathize with the victims based on the insufficient information. My own example of this illustrates how the public’s perspectives shift and how people’s empathy goes in fade when they hear of different aspects of facts and I conclude that the audience as us are the cruel people who should be responsible for the miserable mental damages obtained by innocent unseen online victims.

For blog post 6, I concentrate on the cruelty of Jean Louise when she endeavors to empathize with her father Atticus’s change. Her over-empathy and over reliance on Atticus block her from considering about her own responsibility of setting her own moral watchman. This over “self-oriented” empathy in some extent hides the “other-oriented” empathy and thus causes her misunderstanding of people who have different conscience from her.

Consequently, after reading all my blog posts, the readers can understand why empathy reveals the veil cruelty in two ways: empathy is helpful for us to discern the cruelty and cruelty can also be generated by empathy’s limitations.

 

 

the links of Blog 4,5,6

How can we overcome pseudo-empathy A disagreement about Adam Morton

Empathy in the Digital Age

A Watchman of Jean’s Conscience

 

Cited from:

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

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

 

A Watchman of Jean’s Conscience

A widely-known novelist Nelle Harper Lee wrote a dramatic character called “Atticus Finch” in her two eminent novels, “Go Set a Watchman” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”. “Go Set a Watchman” was written before “To Kill a Mockingbird” during the time when white supremacists prevail but was published 55 years afterward. Plenty of readers contend that there is a considerably self-contradictory convert in the main character Atticus. Whereas from my perspective, the character himself doesn’t change, however, the way that the readers and Jean Louise perceive and understand Atticus changes since the author presents a more complicated and complete Atticus from Jean’s sight in “Go Set a Watchman” than in “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

In Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Atticus used to be a paradigm of anti-segregation and anti-discrimination, an emblem of courage to fight against the whole white-dominant society and a role model of all attorneys with plenty of wisdom and empathy, while in “Go Set a Watchman”, he becomes a member of the Maycomb County Citizens’ Council, a scorner of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.) and a believer who insist that a large percentage of rights obtained by blacks will devastate social order. Even one time he says that “Can you blame the South for wanting to resist an invasion by people who are apparently so ashamed of their race they want to get rid of it?” (GSW247)

When Jean Louise finds out the other side of her father gradually, she doubts about Atticus’s credibility and disappoints about his negotiated viewpoints toward discrimination and segregation at the beginning. And then Jean’s discontent is exaggerated since Atticus adopts some of the racial opinions from the community. Eventually, Jean arouses a conflict with Atticus and starts packing to run away from her family after driving back to home. Jean reacts crazy and irrationally to the people she feels uncomfortable of due to the contrary notions they hold, including her uncle Jack. She yells to Jack insanely and Jack slaps on her face to stop her, making her bleed and almost pass out. It can be seen that this action taken by Jack leads to a beneficial outcome: Jean stops being a bigot that resists everyone who has different attitude from her and starts to meditate her father and herself as separate and independent figures. The author uses Jack’s mouth to induce her meaning of “Go Set a Watchman”: “Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience. There is no such thing as a collective conscious.” (GSW 265) Indeed, Jean Louise cannot accept the change of Atticus because she thinks Atticus should be her guide and alliance continuously. Jean still relies on her father’s belief; thus when the original conviction of Atticus changes into a mature and “flawed” conscience but there is no development of Jean, Jean’s primitive faith in her father collapses.

Before reading Jack’s speaking, I have a potential sense to the following passages that there will be a mental struggle of Jean between her love of her father who raises her up and her adamant even radical antipathy with his father’s prejudice. Since Jean Louise can only understand and accept part of her father’s conviction and actions, the part she agrees and connects herself with, her empathy toward Atticus is more self-focused and tendentious. Without completely understanding, the partial empathy becomes useless and even harmful because in other way, this segmental empathy actually represents the limitations of empathy. Thus, Jean’s evaluation of Atticus’s value merely based on her former impression of Atticus instead of fully standing in her father’s shoes and being “other-focused” eventually gives rise to the grief, conflicts and uncomfortable relationship between jean and her beloved people.

Moreover, after understanding Jack’s words, I comprehend there is no ambivalence in her acceptance or rejection of her father. The question Jean should really reconsider is if she can be independent of her father, if she can take her own responsibility of the position she stands for and build up her own conscience, and if she can acknowledge that there is no perfect paradigm in the world included herself. The author here wants Jean and readers to understand that imperfection here enables everyone to become a complex person with multiple moral concepts. We need to set up our own conscience and have courage of being responsible for the consequence when persisting on our own choices. There is no need to dismiss or despise someone who disagree with us.

Although there is lack of elaboration on how Jean realizes that she is also an imperfect identity and her father ‘s eager to support and listen to her viewpoints rather than reject her and stop loving her, it is apparent that Jean develops to a mature and self-conscious woman and chooses to enlarge her scope of empathy to accurately understand her father. For instance, in the end of the book she says “I think I love you very much.” (GSW 278) to her father. Adding the word “I think” makes the love integrated. Jean is not the little girl who merely admires her father and relies on her father’s faith anymore. Acknowledging that empathy should be both“self-focused” and “other-focused”, she develops to an actual adult who can be responsible of her own conscience and can respect other’s conscience indeed.

 

 

Citation

Lee, Harper. Go Set a Watchman, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY, 2015, P1-P280

 

 

Empathy in the Digital Age

In “God That Was Awesome”, the author Jon Ronson contends the devastating impact of social media Tweeter on Justine Sacco who posts a joke on tweeter which is regarded as seriously discriminated to other races. Indeed, this kind of increasing leading by social media is ordinary in this high-speed technological world. For instance, we can easily hear plenty of rumors about celebrities and cannot distinguish which one is realistic and which one is fabricated by intentional media and imagination of public. And even normal people can be mentally attacked by the Internet users and social media conductors.

Tracing back to May 2015, in the southwestern city Chengdu in China, a female diver was brutally beaten by a male driver due to her reckless lane changing on the cross road. After the shocking video surfaced online, presenting that the man dragged the woman out of her seat, thrown on the ground and kicked her several times on the head, the public promoted a wave of anger against the assailant and urged to punish the man intensely. However, the public attitude was apparently shifted and separately divided when the other video, a footage in the man’s car showing the woman swerving “dangerously” across his lane frightened his child and his wife, was presented to the public. The public started to understand that the male driver in that situation was obviously infuriated by the woman’s abruptly changing. They could tolerate the man’s bully to a lady since they accept the explanation by the man that he was insanely out of control due to his vast indignation. Thus, a large amount of Internet users was critical of the woman and argued that the woman was “deserved to be attacked”. Plenty of comments like this posted on major news portal 163.com received a total of more than 100,000 thumbs up.%e5%b1%8f%e5%b9%95%e5%bf%ab%e7%85%a7-2016-11-10-%e4%b8%8a%e5%8d%8810-01-46%e5%b1%8f%e5%b9%95%e5%bf%ab%e7%85%a7-2016-11-10-%e4%b8%8a%e5%8d%8810-01-54

What exactly made people stop sympathizing with the woman and ignore the physical and mental hurt of the woman? Why did people blame the man drastically at first and then regard the assailant as a tolerable and understandable reaction? Was the protection of public order that prevents accidents triggered by road rage? Absolutely not. A commentary published on state-run China Youth Daily lashed out at this rhetoric which I agree most: “Cheering for the beating of the female driver is not only applauding for violence, [an act of] sexual discrimination, but also reflects the violent tendency of the society.”

As we can see, Justine Sacco conducted the irregular and sensitive post on social media and was misunderstood by others on account of lack of background information attached to the public. Besides, the incomplete evidence of a conflict divided Chinese public’s attitude toward the man’s assailant and eventually the assailant became understandable and the woman was “deserved to be beaten”. From my perspective, I agree with the Jon Ronson’s elaboration of the reason why social media can destroy both guilty and innocent people. In author’s position, “we were more frightening than Judge Ted Poe” “the powerful, crazy, cruel people were now us”, which explains that it’s us who prevail rumors through misunderstanding and pseudo-empathy of others or even groundless condemning of people who should not be punished intensely. (Jon Ronson 90)

Do we lack of empathy in online social media communication than face-to face communication? The answer is definitely yes. Although social media gives us the key to unlock the door of empathy toward superficial facts, the lack of nonverbal clues and insufficient information in online communication exaggerate the limitations of empathy. In the article, “Empathy, Justice, Law”, Martin L. Hoffman says that the limitations of empathy include that we empathize with people nearby and empathize more to physically present people than potentially unseen people. (Hoffman 251) In the article “Do social media foster or curtail adolescents’ empathy?” written by Vossen Helen, study shows that social media only affects certain aspect of empathy. “The Perception Action Model of empathy postulates that imagining emotions of others taps more into cognitive empathy while direct observation of emotions more often elicits affective empathy.” (Vossen) However, due to the insufficient and vague facts and information, people are less likely cognitive and affective to the unseen people and indistinguishable truth.

The conclusion of Vossen Helen is easy to be explained because social media enlarges our scope of knowing and recognizing of other people’s emotions, however, misunderstanding and pseudo empathy occur when we only know the surface of the facts without exploring the roots and the backgrounds. We may conceive what we see and hear, but the affective emotion emerges conditionally. We may imagine the context of the post in social media, but minority of people consider the purposes of others’ posts and meditate in what extent we should take them seriously and perceive them correspondingly. In most of time, we prefer to remain our own perspectives toward others’ thinking and judge others’ value which frequently complies with dominant consciousness. Thus, we arrogantly pretend to reveal the misspeaking and misbehaviors of others and eager to become a justice promoter. However, without empathetic understanding, we consequently become the most powerful and cruel people who can destroy others easily in the social media.

Citation:

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

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

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

Vossen, Helen G. M., and Patti M. Valkenburg. “Do Social Media Foster Or Curtail Adolescents’ Empathy? A Longitudinal Study.” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 63, 2016., pp. 118-124

Chris Luo, South China Morning Post, news, China, Man’s brutal beating of female driver divides Chinese public after different car videos emerge, Published: Wednesday, 06 May, 2015, 3:22pm, Updated: Thursday, 07 May, 2015, 7:06pm

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/1787577/mans-brutal-beating-female-driver-divides-chinese-public-after

 

How can we overcome pseudo-empathy A disagreement about Adam Morton

In Adam Morton’s essay “Empathy for the Devil”, he addresses the question of how and why people empathize with the Devil. The empathy for the evil achieves when people connect the evil with the recall of their own ordinary cases and find the “similarity between joined cases” (Morton 329), and accompany with the overcoming of barriers, such as resolution, decency, and timidity. Otherwise, lack of deeper understanding, knowing why instead of how to empathize and wrong description of barriers trigger “pseudo-empathy” to happen. (Morton 327)

To elaborate, the author has two examples. One example of overcoming pseudo-empathy is that the reminiscence of personal struggling of quitting smoking makes one empathize with the other smoking person. The recall of own quitting experience enables the man to understand why the other man feel relief after restarting smoking and how he deals with the pain. Another example is that the owner of the dog can easily pick up a cake on her friend’s dress but cannot pick the poop up because of the loathing of excrement. If the owner can connect her feelings outside the situation and avoid the decency and disgusting emotion, she can get rid of pseudo-empathy and perform well.

However, from my perspective, I disagree with the author’s explanation of pseudo-empathy and the factors of misunderstanding of others. As for the author, he contends that “a connection with an evil action that preserves moral character at the price of describing the wrong kind of barrier makes pseudo-empathy, an empathetic feeling that is not accompanied by understanding”. (Morton 327) Instead of that, I believe pseudo-empathy not only includes the deviation of experiences from empathizer’s perspective but also disconnected standing of others’ position and experience. In order to fully understand and get rid of pseudo-empathy, both “self-oriented” perspective and “other-oriented” perspective is needed to be taken into consideration. I prefer to adopt Martin L. Hoffman’s definition of influential perspective-taking in empathy. According to Hoffman, of three types of perspective-taking, he emphasizes the “co-occurrence” which means people combine “self-oriented” empathy, appealing personal identification of the victims by recalling their similar painful experience, and “other-oriented” empathy, associated sympathy of victims by concentrating on others’ distress. (Hoffman 233) Although sometimes “self-oriented” empathy can “lead to quasi-empathic experiences” (Coplan54-55), which means two situations overlap with each other, in most of the time, “other-oriented” perspective taking needs more emotional controls and arrangements which are simulated by understanding from others’ viewpoints.

To illustrate that, during the class discussion, we talk about the empathy and understanding toward others’ bereavement. The recall of distress of losing our dogs cannot be regarded as “self-oriented” empathy because the similarity between two cases is extremely vague that cannot conduct accurate and deeper understanding of others. Despite distresses are happened at the same time, like I lose my grandpa and I empathize with my grandma, I still cannot generate non-pseudo empathy to my grandma without “other-oriented” thinking. Since the importance of my grandpa is different from my grandma and me, the extents of cognition of sadness are also in disparate levels. (class discussion) Furthermore, according to Amy Coplan, individuals prefer to alleviate their own discomfort by engaging only in self-oriented behaviors and automatically neglect true distress of others by blocking or neglecting their “others-directed” thinking abilities. (Coplan56-57)

In conclusion, the author’s belief that “we misdistribute our estimates of what we can intuitively understand” and “retrospective continuity” are not enough to explain the barriers of empathy and misunderstandings of others. (Morton 239) Concentration on personal experience is insufficient to avoid “non-pseudo” empathy and thus correctly stand in other’s positions. Besides “self-oriented” empathy, we also need “other-focused” empathy to prevent from the exaggerated ease and “alleviated discomfort”. (Coplan56-57) To be clear, the author’s suggestions for overcoming barriers and pseudo-empathy are relatively effective to reach the entire understanding; whereas some restrictions left are in need of “other-oriented” empathy to take place.

Cited from

Martin L. Hoffman. “Empathy, Justice and Law”. Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives. Oxford University Press. 2014. 213-254
Morton, Adam. “Empathy For The Devil.” Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives, edited by Amy Coplan, Peter Goldie, Oxford University Press, 2011, 318-330.

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

Class discussion WRT 105E 2016 FALL.41559, “Empathy & Ethics”, October 13th

Empathy, Justice and Law in To Kill a Mockingbird

Generally, throughout the whole movie To Kill a Mockingbird, the evocation of empathy is accompanied with the recall of Tonya’s miserable story from the former shocking rape scene to the plot of gripping final speech in the court. Empathy in this movie not only gives people a great opportunity to engage in recognizing the distress of victims but also promotes partial justice for defendants. However, the limitations of empathy cause this justice inappropriate to the law. In my paper, I want to address three questions: Does Jake’s closing argument promote the good aspect of empathy or take advantage of the limitations and bias of empathy? How can this empathy encourage justice? Why the justice in this movie is detrimental to law making and changing? These three arguments are specified in the following statements.
Initially, I prefer to adopt Martin L. Hoffman’s definition of influential perspective-taking in empathy. According to Hoffman, of three types of perspective-taking, he emphasizes the “co-occurrence” which means people combine “self-focused” empathy, appealing personal identification of the victims by recalling their similar painful experience, and “other-focused” empathy, associated sympathy of victims by concentrating on others’ distress. (233) Moreover, the definition of “poetic justice is that an outcome in which vice is punished and virtue rewarded usually in a manner peculiarly or ironically appropriate.” (Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary) In this movie, “co-occurrence” empathy is beneficial to promote justice in court because it not only creates the social and emotional climate but also enlarges the scope for logical thinking.
Before the conclusion speech, the combination of Jake’s temporary “co- occurrence empathy” and meaningful ambition cannot be transformed into a cogent statement convinced by listeners. (Hoffman 233) After all jurors’ viewpoints can’t be changed by the flawless and refined appeal of Jake and be doubted by questionable proposals raised by plaintiff’s attorney. It’s extremely hard to win this case because reasons and logos are biased in jurors’ mind.
However, empathy changes both Jake and jurors’ way of thinking and thus promotes justice. As for lawyer Jake, His “other-focused” empathy of Tonya induces “self-focused” empathy to his imagination of his own daughter. (Hoffman 233) Therefore, he would put everyone nearby and even himself in danger to delimitate non-evenhanded justice from his part rather than renounce the case. From my perspective, Jake also has a fraction of self-sufficiency and a sense of mission to prevail certain justice. For instance, he said “a lawyer can’t be rich from a case but they can change and save the world from a case” and this motto encourages him to stand in Carlee’s shoes instead of seeking vanity and wealth. He believes he can promote justice of Carlee’s and his side, which he thinks is harmonic to the law and beneficial to the world. Then emotional and influential final speech comes out.
During the final speech, Jake promotes justice of Tonya’s position when he asks jurors to close their eyes and seek truth from their heart. Since jurors can imagine the pain and hurt of Tonya, the picture that two cruel animals tore little girl’s clothes, hang her on the fragile branches and kick her off from the bridge, pity and sadness of jurors occur at the same time. Thus, their former ineradicable judgments and ingrained principles that Carlee should carry out a death sentence go in fade as commiserative nature predominates. Furthermore, on this jury, there are 8 women and 4 men. Sometimes different genders cannot produce the identical empathy since most of the women shed tears in the movie while other men only look serious. Women can picture the pain of the little girl easily and their emotional thinking and maternal splendor can be exaggerated instantly. After hearing the description of story elaborated by Jake, they pray for the girl and wish there’s less harm on her immediately. Since they understand the hurt of losing the ability to have babies, they feel angry and no matter what punishments of guys cannot cover the hurt of Tonya. Consequently, they change their indifferent characters into empathetic spectators and therefore the justice of Tonya is promoted.
As we can see, the justice from Carlee’s side got lost in the first place but was emphasized even exaggerated after empathy occurs. However, rational reasons are concealed by the emotion and pathos during the final speech because of the limitations of empathy. Aristotle’s definition of pathos is that pathos awakens emotion in the audience so as to induce them to make the judgment desired. Therefore, the justice induced from this way is intrinsically a prejudice and cannot be used to coextend with law. Obviously, jurors’ empathy has the bias which makes them merely concentrate on the distress of familiar groups rather than both unseen and present people. After Jake’s final speech, the pathos of Tonya is amplified easily and the bereavement of two guys’ family is neglected. The clarification of Carlee’s murder accusation thus goes faded in people’s eyes. And the definition of this kind of bias by Hoffman is “empathize more with physically present victims rather than potential victims”. (235&236)
Due to the limitations of empathy, justice boosted in this way cannot be co-extensive with the law. Since the law is not people’s willing but the result of judicial judgments, the law in this movie is not trusted and admitted. Initially, Carlee didn’t believe that the law and court can protect fairness since the previous case that the evils went off without punishment presents an unfair arbitration. And Carlee insists that the law of America can’t set him free and give him a fair judgment but the tendentious perspectives taken by jurors decide if he is guilty or not. Actually, in this whole film, there is no evenhanded justice because whether Jake wins or loses this case, the justice prevails. But as for law, it does not prevail. For example, if jurors’ rational thinking of law takes place, they should imagine the desperation of Tonya’s parents and the distress of Tonya when they see the truth that Carlee kills two evil guys. They should also feel empathy toward the bereavement of the families of two guys when they hear the story about how Tonya is raped cruelty and how pure girl is tarnished by two animals. Radical facts, such as Carlee’s insanity when killing two guys and Carlee’s revenge without respecting the authority and function of laws, should be taken into the final decision.
Because the bias and transience of empathy often triggers people have instant and impulsive motivations, reasons and judicial meditation which promote credibility of law should be taken into the final consideration. Especially in the court, attorneys can easily use some techniques to enable jurors to feel the empathic distress of the victim and allow humanity concealing the rational and judicious judgements immediately. According to Hoffman, “Rational reasons and “affective empathy” together create an emotional climate of the courtroom and evenhanded justice of laws. (233)
In conclusion, on the one hand, the empathy helps us reflect one’s misfortune quickly and response their distress intensely with full of humanness in separate conditions. On the other hand, empathy is vulnerable to bias can simply be used as a technique to pursue the justice which only benefits one side of groups and triggers others’ rights of fairness. Although justice is promoted in the end, this justice is not co-extensive with the law because of the lack of judicial meditation from both sides of justice.

Cited from
A Time to Kill. Directed by Joel Schumacher. Warner Brothers, 1996.
Martin L. Hoffman. “Empathy, Justice and Law”. Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives. Oxford University Press. 2014. 213-254

Formal Assignment 1

Generally, throughout the whole movie, invocation of empathy and pathos are accompanied with the recall of Tonya’s miserable story from the former shocking rape scene to the plot of gripping final speech in court. Empathy in this movie not only gives people a great opportunity to engage in recognizing the distress of victims identifiably but also causes wrong directions to justice and laws and limitations of consideration. In my paper, I want to addressed three questions: Does Jake’s closing argument promote the good aspect of empathy or take advantage of the limitations and bias of empathy? How can empathy affect the justice of laws? What should we take into consideration when changing and making the laws? These three arguments are specified in the following statements.

Initially, I prefer to adopt Martin L. Hoffman’s definition of influential perspective-taking in empathy. According to Hoffman, of three types of perspective-taking, he emphasizes the “co-occurrence” which means people combine appeal personal identification of the victims by recalling their similar painful experience and associated sympathy of victims by concentrating on others’ distress. This mode is beneficial to law because it not only creates the social and emotional climate but also enlarge the scope for making and changing the law. (233)

Empathy changes both Jake and jurors’ way of thinking and feeling. As for lawyer Jake, His “other-focused” empathy of Tonya induces “self-focused” to his imagination of his own daughter. (Hoffman 233) Therefore, he would put everyone nearby and even himself in danger to demonstrate non-evenhanded justice from his part rather than renounce the case. Instead of empathy, I think Jake also has a fraction of self-sufficiency and a sense of mission to prevail certain justice. Like he said in the movie, “a lawyer can’t be rich from a case but they can change and save the world from a case”. This motto encourages him to stand in Carlee’s shoes instead of seeking vanity and wealth. He believes he can promote justice of his side which he thinks is harmonic to the law and beneficial to the world.

However, justice in this movie is continuously biased because of the limitations of empathy. Initially, Carlee didn’t believe that laws and court can provide justice since the previous case that the evils went off without punishment presents an unfair arbitration. And in the movie, Carlee insists that laws of America can’t set him free and give him a fair judgment but the perspectives taken by jurors decide if he is guilty or not. Actually in this whole film, there is no evenhanded justice because whether Jake wins or loses this case, the justice prevails. Before the conclusion speech, the combination of Jake’s temporary “co-occurrence empathy” and meaningful ambition cannot be transformed to a cogent statement and reason convinced by listeners. (Hoffman 233) After all jurors’ viewpoints can’t be changed by flawless and refined appeal of Jake and be doubted by questionable proposals raised by plaintiff’s attorney. It’s extremely hard to win this case because reasons and logos are biased in jurors’ mind. Consequently, although Jake adds weights to their lower scale, opponents never stop but put more weights on their side and even wind can blow it to the original position. In the movie, it shows that the emotion on Jake’s face is exhausted and frustrated when he goes into the jail to visit Carlee before the last trial and says that he is going to cop a plea for the reason that there are no points of law to argue on court. (TK) And then his disappointment changes to anger when Carlee tells him he is also a white enemy with bias and segregation of the black and white. But after Carlee explains his meditation, Jake finally understands how jurors and himself can be persuaded and changes his “sharp-lawyering summation” to empathic distress picturing.

During the final speech, when Jake asks jurors to close their eyes and seek truth from their heart, impartial justice is concealed by the emotion and pathos. As for pathos, Aristotle’s definition of it is that Pathos awakes emotion in the audience so as to induce them to make the judgment desired. Therefore, the judgment induced from this way is intrinsically a prejudice. Since jurors in the end can only imagine the pain and hurt of Tonya, the picture that two cruel animals tore little girl’s clothes, hang her on the fragile branches and kick her off from the bridge, pity and sadness occur at the same time. Thus, ineradicable judgements and ingrained principle go in fade as commiserative nature predominates. Furthermore, in this jury, there are 8 women and 4 man. Sometimes different genders can’t produce the identical empathy since most of women shed tears in the movie while other men are only look serious. Women can picture the pain of the little girl easily and their affective thinking and maternal splendor can be exaggerated instantly. After hearing the description of story elaborated by Jake, they pray for the girl and wish there’s less harm on her immediately. Since they understand the hurt of losing ability of having babies, they feel angry and no matter what punishments of guys cannot cover the hurt of Tonya.

As we can see, the truth from Carlee’s side got lost in the first place but was emphasized even exaggerated after empathy occurs. The empathy of black girl was more understated before the last sentence “now imagine she’s white” released. These two situation demonstrates that empathy has bias which make people merely concentrate on the distress of familiar groups rather than both unseen and present people. After Jake’s final speech, the pathos of Tonya is amplified easily and the bereavement of two guys’ family is neglected. The clarification of murder accusation thus goes faded in people’s eyes. This is also a bias of empathy that people “empathize more to physically present victims rather than potential victims”. (Hoffman 235&236)

In conclusion, on the one hand, the empathy helps us reflect one’s misfortune quickly and response their distress intensely with full of humanness in separate conditions. On the other hand, empathy is vulnerable to bias can simply be used as a technique to pursue the justice which only benefits one side of groups and triggers others’ rights of fairness.

Because the bias and transience of empathy often triggers people have instant and impulsive motivation, reason and deliberation which promote credibility should be taken into the final consideration. Especially in the court, attorneys can easily use some techniques to enable jurors to feel the empathic distress of the victim and when the humanity and emotion take place, rational and “self-focused” thinking are concealed immediately. (Hoffman 233) Justice should be coextensive with law in Tonya’s cases. Jurors imagine the desperation of Tonya’s parents and the distress of Tonya when they see the truth that Carlee kills two evil guys. They should also feel empathy toward the bereavement of the families of two guys when they hear the story about how Tonya was raped cruelty and how pure girl was tarnished by two animals. Logical facts, such as Carlee’s insanity when killing two guys and Carlee’s revenge without respecting the authority and justice of laws, should be taken into final decision. Rational reasons and “affective empathy” together create emotional climate of the court room and evenhanded justice of laws. (Hoffman 233)

 

 

Cited from

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

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

 

 

Third Blog Assignment

From my perspective, invocation of empathy and pathos are accompanied with the recall of Tonya’s miserable story throughout the whole movie. During the front plots before preliminary hearing, the main character attorney Jake invokes his later company and his teacher’s real vocation of being lawyers, they can’t be rich from a case but they can change and save the world from a case. After describing the hurt of Tonya with a father’s sympathy, they can see from Jake’s eyes and insist helping him.

Instead of invoking other characters’ empathy in the film, some plots stimulate viewers’ pathos. For instance, the rape scene produces a visual shock to audience. The hardship of Jake and the dilemma situation of putting everyone nearby in danger let viewers struggle the same way. Thus, people have a good willing of miracle happens and anticipate that Jake’s persistence will be worthwhile and finally he can succeed in prevailing the justice he stands for. Furthermore, the audience abominate Klan and think Klan should be punished because they are radical and only create havoc and violence, which are obviously dangerous to society and make segregation and discrimination become progressively serious. Spectators have shift their attention to the evil of Billy Ray and Willard because they believe justice conquers evil at last.

Moreover, the conversation between Jake and Carlee explains the effect of logos and Ethos. Jake is instinctively a white enemy and he uses so many techniques to hide impulsive emotion which can naturally be generated by human being (as Buckley induced Carlee said those two guys should be killed intentionally) in order to present a rational and non-suspicious statement. After all jurors’ viewpoints can’t be transformed by flawless and refined appeal of Jake and be doubted by questionable proposals raised by plaintiff’s attorney. It’s extremely hard to win this case because reasons and logos are biased in jurors’ mind. Consequently, although Jake adds weights to their lower scale, opponents never stop but put more weights on their side and even wind can blow it to the original position.

During the final announcement, Jake enables jurors to seek, find and live with truth. The ambiguous truth from Carlee’s side got lost in the first place and it is needed to use our heart to feel instead of mind to judge. Eyes of law are human eyes and justice is not evenhanded because all the ideas coming up with our brain reflect our own prejudice. When they imagine the picture that two cruel animals tore little girl’s clothes, hang her on the fragile branches and kick her off from the bridge, pity and sadness occur at the same time. Therefore, ineradicable judgements and ingrained principle go in fade as commiserative nature predominates.

As we can see, in the jurors, there are 8 women and 4 man. Sometimes females and males can’t produce the identical pathos. Women can picture the pain of the little girl easily and their affective thinking and maternal splendor can be exaggerated easily. After hearing the description of story elaborated by Jake, they will pray for the girl and wish there’s less harm on her immediately. Since they understand the hurt of losing ability of having babies, they feel angry and no matter what punishments of guys cannot cover the hurt of Tonya. The pathos is amplified easily and the bereavement of two guys’ family will be neglected. The clarification of murder accusation will be faded in people’s eyes and laws should be created with our original humanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atticus’s closing speech

 

Initially, I believe the accusation of this case should not be proposed because there is no testified medical evidence for violence and no verifiable material provided. All we know the alleged fact only relies on the plaintiff and witnesses’ statements. However, I also have faith in the judicious jurors who can make rational and empathetic decision with justice from every equal human being. And I know that our court can protect rights fairly and for the name of god, there is no reason for us to kill an innocent person like we can’t not kill a “mockingbird” which only sing and does no harm to others. As a lawyer, I have fidelity and loyalty integrity to the law and I’m here to reveal the veil of the truth and promote justice.

In order to rationally reconsider the evidence asserted by witness, I think Tom gave us enough testimony to demonstrate that there is no way for him to hit Mayella Ewell on her right face. As we can see, He even could not lift his left hands. Furthermore, imagine if our children get hurt, don’t you think the only thing we will do immediately is to call the doctor and make sure our children are safe? But obviously, this father here doesn’t care about his daughter but concentrate on perpetrator. However, the reason why Tom stopped by her house every time is to help Mayella instead of filthy thinking. There is no logic to maintain that Tom wants to rape her because he is young and strong. There are definitely someone lying here and both of chief witness and defendant are victims. “I have nothing but pity in my heart to Mayella because she is the victim of cruel and poverty and ignorance”.(TK) It’s her own family and even society’s evil assumption, Negros are basically immoral beings and cannot trusted by white woman, makes her feel shame and guilty. But there is no rational belief and forgivable excuse for her to condemn innocent Tom to death sentence and let guiltless Tom to offset her misbehavior and misconduct.

I want all jurors to “assail our role in public deliberation” and put away the “first-person reference”. ( Nussbaum Rational Emotions 59) If this is a court which white man only feel empathy about white people and don’t even want to have any emotional and reasonable   appeal to Negros, this injustice court should be dismissed and send Tom to his home. It’s jurors’ duty to avoid the bias and become judicious “third-party” people. Let us concentrate on the intangible but indelible assumption in our mind that all Negros are evil inborn and no matter what they do can be regarded as detrimental to society. We have to admit our society often takes the unequal rules and monstrous value on Negros. And the value is extremely radical that even if someone render logos and pathos to the unfair facts, they just ignore them and stick to pervious assumption. However, our country is equal to everyone and our court is justice to every single person nevertheless nationalities, races or gender. So how can we put an a moral and respectable person “ at stake”and force him to suffer from the evil and wrong assumption that black man are congenitally mendacious and detrimental to society? (TK) Where is our humanity as human being? Where is our intelligence to put Pathos and logos in the first place? Where is the equity of our country? Again, I hope you gentlemen can get rid of personal bias and make decision by evidence.

Cited from

To kill a Mocking Bird, Directed by Robert Mulligan , Distributed by Universal Pictures, Released on December 25, 1962

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cite from To Kill a Mockingbird By Nelle Harper Lee

Hoffman, Martin L. “Empathy, Justice, and the Law.” Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives. Ed. Amy Coplan and Peter Goldie. Oxford, UK: Oxford UP, 2011. 230-244.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

blog assignment 1

In the article “Empathy, Justice and the Law”, Martin L. Hoffman mainly illustrates different aspects of empathy, which have positive and negative impacts of law-making and changing. Initially, the author mentions three types of empathy: “affective, cognitive, co-occurrence” and three stages of developing empathy: “vendical empathy, empathic distress over other’s life and empathy for distress groups.”(Hoffman 234-235)When co-occurrence feeling and empathy for distressed group combine together, the “witnessing”occurs. It can not only produce a temporary eager to relief victim’s pain but generate larger attentions of radically changing the distressed situation. Furthermore, after listing four transformations of empathy, the author asserts that the guardian of justice spurs plenty of individuals to change the laws in a humanistic and altruistic way. Beneficial and pro-social actions are exemplified by Harriet Beecher Stowe, who gives society intense understand of slavery in his best-selling book and encourages an increasing number of leaders and politicians to notice the unseen and detrimental effect of slavery. Another positive empathy example contended by Hoffman happens in U.S Supreme Court. Henderson becomes a narrative of self-hated children to oppose school desegregation and separate-but-equal doctrine. Although there are certain people against the proposal, the Court eventually made empathy take over injustice. As for another profound law change, legalizing abortion, the court finally takes the perspective of women and actually gives women rights to choose as men. However, empathy sometimes have negative influence in Court room because of the fickle nature, inevitable bias and limitations of empathy. For instance, the jurors use emotion rather than rational thinking and usually emphasize more to people who they can identify with. In general, different aspects of empathy have opposite reflections to the law-making and changing. In order to avoid the bias of empathy, the author believes the cognitive and educational thinking can make empathy in good use.

From my perspective, I think the word “co-occurrence” in the 14.1.3 modes of empathic arousal is important to the law.(Hoffman 233) Co-occurrence combines self-focused affective empathy which means the recall of self-experience could make people have the same feelings with distressed victim, and other-focused cognitive empathy which means taking victim’s perspective instead of concentrating on their own painful past. The reason why I think it is significant is that empathy’s narrow-minded limitations and inevitable bias could sometimes counteract the benefits of empathy if we don’t have co-occurrence empathy. Like the author mentions in his article that jurors emphasize more on certain groups and families because they have a sense of identity coming up with empathy simultaneously. Thus, emotional reflections play an enormous role in their final decision-making. In that way, we need to have more attention on victims themselves and think in a broader way. We need to empathize more on the potential victims and become “witnessing” as Susan and Henderson. Generally, co-occurrence perspective- taking includes both rational and emotional meditation, which can enlarge the range of and extend period of empathy. Moreover, “co-occurrence” gives us a great opportunity to convince others and prevent from vulnerable empathy. In the condition of making law, co-occurrence lets both humanity and logic participate in and then creates the social and emotional climates.

Cited from

Hoffman, Martin L. “Empathy, Justice, and the Law.” Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives. Ed. Amy Coplan and Peter Goldie. Oxford, UK: Oxford UP, 2011. 230-244.