Empathy and Compassion
How do we relate to other people? Are we truly able to feel what others feel? To what degree does an ability to experience emotions like empathy, sympathy, and compassion make us truly human? Is this ability something that distinguishes us or inexorably links us to the animal kingdom? In this course we will explore different approaches to understanding feelings for others through the writings of scientists and philosophers such as Darwin, de Waal, Nussbaum, Frank, and Sober and Wilson, as well as non-Western (particularly Buddhist) conceptions of compassion.