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> I think it is fair to say that the author's idea of what empathy feels like is completely different to what the rest of the world thinks

I think you misunderstand what he is getting at. Yale researcher Paul Bloom wrote a whole book about this concept of empathy as a bad thing, and I think that is what the manifesto is getting at (I'd almost argue quoting): https://www.amazon.com/Against-Empathy-Case-Rational-Compass... TL;DR is this:

> We often think of our capacity to experience the suffering of others as the ultimate source of goodness. Many of our wisest policy-makers, activists, scientists, and philosophers agree that the only problem with empathy is that we don’t have enough of it.

> Nothing could be further from the truth, argues Yale researcher Paul Bloom. In AGAINST EMPATHY, Bloom reveals empathy to be one of the leading motivators of inequality and immorality in society. Far from helping us to improve the lives of others, empathy is a capricious and irrational emotion that appeals to our narrow prejudices. It muddles our judgment and, ironically, often leads to cruelty. We are at our best when we are smart enough not to rely on it, but to draw instead upon a more distanced compassion.

This is how that manifesto is being so miscategorised. It says - DIRECT QUOTE - "relying on affective empathy — feeling another's pain — causes us to focus on anecdotes, favour individuals similar to us, and harbour other irrational and dangerous biases". Not empathy is not required. Not empathy is useless, but a specific, nuanced usage of empathy. It is understandable this miscategorisation given how most people see empathy, but it is still borderline strawmanning to impose a definition here that was not intended.

This is around the multiple definitions of empathy. To quote:

I am staunchly with Bloom here: it is undoubtedly a valuable gift, but only provided it is fortified by a prior rational moral position and appropriately judged action. And there are many arguably moral actions that have nothing to do with empathy or even sympathy – paying one’s taxes, or picking up litter are not glamorous activities but they stem from a rational perception of what is for the general good.


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