Zero Degrees of Empathy by Simon Baron-Cohen
A New Theory of Human Cruelty (French Edition)

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Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of developmental psychopathology at Cambridge University, has a particular interest in the nature and functioning of empathy.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Simon Baron-Cohen, expert in autism and developmental psychopathology, has always wanted to isolate and understand the factors that cause people to treat others as if they were mere objects. In this book he proposes a radical shift, turning the focus away from evil and on to the central factor, empathy. Unlike the concept of evil, he argues, empathy has real explanatory power. Putting empathy under the microscope he explores four new ideas: firstly, that we all lie somewhere on an empathy spectrum, from high to low, from six degrees to zero degrees. Secondly, that deep within the brain lies the 'empathy circuit'. How this circuit functions determines where we lie on the empathy spectrum. Thirdly, that empathy is not only something we learn but that there are also genes associated with empathy. And fourthly, while a lack of empathy leads to mostly negative results, is it always negative? Full of original research, "Zero Degrees of Empathy" presents a new way of understanding what it is that leads individuals down negative paths, and challenges all of us to consider replacing the idea of evil with the idea of empathy-erosion.
 

About Simon Baron-Cohen

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Simon Baron-Cohen is Professor at Cambridge University in the fields of psychology and psychiatry. He is also the Director of Cambridge's internationally-renowned Autism Research Centre. He has carried out research into social neuroscience over a career spanning twenty years. The Essential Difference (Penguin 2003) has been translated in over a dozen languages and put forward the theory of 'the extreme male brain'.
 
Published April 1, 2011 by Allen Lane. 190 pages
Genres: Law & Philosophy, History.
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Reviewed by Ned Denny on Jun 02 2012

Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of developmental psychopathology at Cambridge University, has a particular interest in the nature and functioning of empathy.

Read Full Review of Zero Degrees of Empathy: A Ne... | See more reviews from Guardian

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