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The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World


Author: Jamil Zaki

Empathy has been on people’s mind a lot lately. Philosophers, evolutionary scientists and indeed former President Obama agree that an increase in empathy could advance us beyond the hatred, violence and polarisation in which the world seems caught. Others disagree, arguing it is easiest to empathise with people who look, talk or think like us. As a result, empathy can inspire nepotism, racism and worse.

Having studied the neuroscience and psychology of empathy for over a decade, Jamil Zaki thinks both sides of this debate have a point. Empathy is sometimes an engine for moral progress, and other times for moral failure. But Zaki also thinks that both sides are wrong about how empathy works.



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