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    paul bloom Quotes

    It would be nice if everybody who had something interesting to say about my work could say it politely and civilly, but it doesn't work that way... Sometimes people are just really nasty.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: people  work 
     
    Traditionally, psychology has been the study of two populations: university freshmen and white rats.
    — Paul Bloom
    And empathy is narrow; it connects us to particular individuals, real or imagined, but is insensitive to numerical differences and statistical data.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: empathy  real 
     
    If you like somebody, they look better to you. This is why spouses in happy marriages tend to think that their husband or wife looks much better than anyone else thinks that they do.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: marriage  wife 
     
    Stories turn anonymous strangers into people who matter.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: people  stories 
     
    I think there's some evidence that when it comes to being a doctor or nurse, a police officer or therapist, that empathetic engagement leads to burn-out. Imagine if you're dealing with severely ill children, and you felt their pain all the time, and the pain of their parents - you wouldn't be able to do that job for very long. It would kill you.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: children  time  pain  job  child  parent  imagine  doctor 
     
    The irrationality of disgust suggests it is unreliable as a source of moral insight. There may be good arguments against gay marriage, partial-birth abortions and human cloning, but the fact that some people find such acts to be disgusting should carry no weight.
    — Paul Bloom
    Empty heads, cognitive science has taught us, learn nothing. The powerful cultural and personal flexibility of our species is owed at least in part to our starting off so well-informed; we are good learners because we know what to pay attention to and what questions are the right ones to ask.
    — Paul Bloom
    I argue that we should be kind, we should be compassionate, and we should definitely be reasonable and rational, but that empathy leads us astray.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: empathy 
     
    For the most part, people use "empathy" to mean everything good. For instance, many medical schools have courses in empathy. But if you look at what they mean, they just want medical students to be nicer to their patients, to listen to them, to respect them, to understand them. What's not to like? If they were really teaching empathy, then I'd say there is a world of problems there.
    — Paul Bloom
    The fact that something can be used for good isn't necessarily a knockdown argument for it.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: facts 
     
    My brother is severely autistic, so when I was a kid I spent a lot of time as a teenager in camps and programs for autistic kids. When I went to McGill as an undergraduate, I figured I'd be a therapist working with these kids. The truth is, and I knew this even back then, I'm just not good at this. I'm too empathic to do this sort of thing.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: time  truth  teenager  kids 
     
    It's hard to pull apart empathy from compassion. What is really clear is that we innately care for other people at least to some extent.
    — Paul Bloom
    It has been a period where people have been far nicer to one another in every possible way. I'm not saying it's because we're dropping our empathy that we're nicer to each other, just that the drop doesn't seem to be causing any harm.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: people  empathy  saying 
     
    This enthusiasm [for empathy] may be misplaced. Empathy has some unfortunate features " it is parochial, narrow-minded and innumerate. We're often at our best when we're smart enough not to rely on it.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: smart  empathy 
     
    When I write I'll sometimes say things which are somewhat controversial - not because I'm seeking out controversy for its own sake, but if I don't have anything to say which is different, why am I bothering to write stuff down in the first place?
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: write 
     
    Empathy zooms you in on an individual and, as a result, it's narrow, it's innumerate, it's racist, it's very biased.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: empathy 
     
    I think there's some evidence that we're empathic by nature. There is some evidence from studies of babies and young children that they resonate with the pain of others, and there's some work by Frans de Waal that other primates also resonate with the pain of others.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: children  nature  work  pain  young  child 
     
    A religion such as Judaism or Catholicism might survive even if it comes to reject a literal account of God creating man and animals. But it cannot survive the rejection of an immaterial soul.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: animals  men  soul  god 
     
    Our best hope for the future [...] lies in an appreciation of the fact that, even if we don't empathize with distant strangers, their lives have the same value as the lives of those we love.
    — Paul Bloom
    Philosophers have often looked for the defining feature of humans - language, rationality, culture, and so on. I'd stick with this: Man is the only animal that likes Tabasco sauce.
    — Paul Bloom
    Because of empathy, stories of the suffering of one person could lead us into a war that could kill millions of people.
    — Paul Bloom
    We are constituted so that simple acts of kindness, such as giving to charity or expressing gratitude, have a positive effect on our long-term moods. The key to the happy life, it seems, is the good life: a life with sustained relationships, challenging work, and connections to community.
    — Paul Bloom
    Families survive the terrible twos because toddlers aren't strong enough to kill with their hands and aren't capable of using lethal weapons.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: strong 
     
    We don't just respond to things as we see them, or feel them, or hear them. Rather, our response is conditioned on our beliefs, about what they really are, what they came from, what they're made of, what their hidden nature is.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: belief  nature 
     
    Something as important and central and encompassing as empathy can't be all bad. I think empathy plays a role in intimate relationships, where you might want your partner not just to care about you or understand you but to feel what you feel.
    — Paul Bloom
    You might argue on utilitarian grounds that the best way for the world to work is for everybody to take care of themselves first. And people have made that argument. But I just think we would be so much better off if we could care for distant others even a little bit more.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: people  work  world  care 
     
    Every president, Democratic or Republican, simply works on the supposition that it's better to keep jobs in America than let them go to Mexico.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: work  job  america 
     
    I kind of like social media, and I like hearing from people. I don't like the ugly stuff, but there are some people - smart people - who have a very different perspective, and I'll get a backlash from them. And this isn't necessarily a bad thing.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: smart  people  bad  media  perspective 
     
    Individuals differ in how empathic they are. Some people would really flinch if they watched me hitting my hand with a hammer, and other people would just not care.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: people  care 
     
    My book is going to be called Against Empathy, which may give you a feeling for where my argument is going to go. Whenever I talk about this, I have to begin in the most boring of all possible ways: by defining my terms. By "empathy," some people mean everything that is good - compassion, kindness, warmth, love, being a mensch, changing the world - and I'm for all of those things. I'm not a monster.
    — Paul Bloom
    Over the last few years, I've been focusing on questions having to do with the self, and questions having to do with morality. I'm very interested in why we do good things, or bad things, and where moral judgments come from.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: self  morality  bad  questions  morals  year 
     
    My younger son told me nobody uses email anymore. I'm this old fogie with my email. I don't know what I'm supposed to communicate with now - SnapChat?
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: son 
     
    I have two teenage sons, and they're both surviving, thriving, and having a great time, and they're always on social media.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: time  media  son 
     
    The effects of Twitter and Facebook and all those things on people's psychologies is a really interesting question to which nobody knows the answer.
    — Paul Bloom
    I think we should really discourage this sort of empathic engagement when it comes to making moral decisions. I think we should focus on something like compassion, on getting people to care more for others without putting ourselves in their shoes.
    — Paul Bloom
    People differ in where they direct their empathy and their compassion. Many people are intensely concerned about the suffering of non-human animals, and some do not care at all. There are cultural differences.
    — Paul Bloom
    I think Americans are always going to care more about Americans than about Mexicans.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: care  american 
     
    I'm not a pacifist. I think the suffering of innocent people can be a catalyst for moral action. But empathy puts too much weight on the scale in favor of war. Empathy can really lead to violence.
    — Paul Bloom
    When people want to inspire you to turn against some group of people, they'll often use empathy.
    — Paul Bloom
    tags: people  empathy  inspire 
     
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