Professor Montemayor on Consciousness and Empathy

Monday, October 10, 2016
Photo of Carlos Montemayor

PSYCHOLOGY TODAY -- SF State Philosophy Associate Professor Carlos Montemayor and University of Western Sydney Professor Harry Haroutioun Haladjian write an opinion piece on consciousness and empathy.

“Empathy is central to the human condition. Without it we would not be able to relate to others. We would not have the moral codes that we have. We would not be able to enjoy theatre or music or art (in fact, the name of a European film chain called Pathé essentially means suffering),” they write. “People with empathic disorders suffer precisely because they cannot relate to those around them, and such conditions are interesting because they show how natural empathy comes to most of us (although such conditions may bring other advantages with them). On the other hand, too much empathy might lead to self neglect and other unhealthy situations — so, like anything, a balance is needed. But without empathy, one could argue that humans would not have been able to advance as much as we have.”