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To have empathy is often defined as the capacity to imagine or feel like other people feel. In the philosophical tradition morality and empathy have often been seen as intertwined or as one being the condition of the other. More recently, this close link has been questioned. Practical philosopher MONIKA BETZLER investigates how the human capacity to empathize with others is related to the concept of morality. In this video, she focuses this question on defining the value of empathy and what this value contributes to morality. For this, she observed normative practices analyzing how people behave and developed a normative concept of empathy. She found concrete evaluative features that allow the establishment of extrinsic and intrinsic values of empathy.


Monika Betzler is Chair of Practical Philosophy and Ethics at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich. She was previously Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bern, Switzerland. Other former affiliations include the University of Göttingen, Bielefeld University, and Harvard University. She has also worked for the Commission of the European Union. Her special fields of interest are moral philosophy, moral psychology, and theories of practical reason and normativity. She is elected Member of the Swiss National Committee for Bioethics and on several editorial boards, for instance of the Journal for Social Ontology.


Original publication

The Relational Value of Empathy

Betzler Monika
International Journal of Philosophical Studies
Published in 2019