chapter  8
19 Pages

Empathy As a Peace Catalyst in Intractable Conflict: Is It Feasible? Is It Enough?

More than two and a half centuries ago, Adam Smith (1759) set an extremely high standard for what he viewed as genuine interpersonal caring and sympathy. In his classical contribution The Theory of Moral Sentiments, he wrote that, “Though our brother is upon the rack, as long as we ourselves are at our ease, our senses will never inform us of what he suffers”. Smith has argued that what makes people moral is our ability to “place ourselves in his situation . . . and become in some measure the same person with him, and hence form some idea of his sensations, and even feel something which, though weaker in degree, is not altogether unlike them”.