The other night on the Australian TV show Q and A the Gillard Government Minister and union man Greg Combet impressed many viewers when he promptly showed concern when Simon Sheikh keeled over and collapsed on the panel's desk, while the Liberal pollie who was seated beside Sheikh, Sophie Mirabella, Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research has been condemned by the masses for her unheartwarming response of leaning well away from Sheikh while wearing a look on her nasty, pouty face that defies description really. So many people have read so much into Mirabella's and Combet's contrasting responses, but there's no denying the fact that both politicians belong to parties that have asylum-seeker policies that have been criticized as inhumane and serious breaches of human rights, which makes me wonder, is personal empathy such a big deal anyway, and how does it influence moral actions, if at all? Sure enough, Mirabella is a festering blight on humanity, but aren't most pollies arseholes in suits?
Prinz, Jesse (accessed 2012) Is Empathy Necessary for Morality? Jesse Prinz.
Prinz, Jesse (2009) Is Empathy Necessary for Morality? Forthcoming In Amy Coplan and Peter Goldie (eds.), Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives. Oxford University Press. Philpapers.