Empathy beyond the In-Group
Stoic Universalism and Augustinian Neighbor-Love
Recent empirical work underscores the centrality of empathy to generating genuinely altruistic motivation, while also emphasizing the natural limits of empathy. Both the ancient Stoics and Augustine seek to expand the scope of moral concern, but in distinct ways that we can now describe as focused on tempering empathetic personal distress, on the one hand, and heightening empathetic concern, on the other. Contemporary empirical research can help us determine where their respective practical strategies genuinely conflict, and where they are simply focused on overcoming distinct challenges to the extension of moral concern. Meanwhile, considering the debates between Augustine and the Stoics can help us grasp the significance of the conflicts that remain, and the contemplative and liturgical practices that they employed in emotion management can help to generate and refine a vital empirical research agenda for the future.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 March 2015
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