The impotence of reason

Entangled Empathy as a Motivator for Change

Many of us recognize the serious ethical problems confronting us, and want to change the world towards the better. So why do so few of us go on to do so, even when we are convinced that we should? At least since Plato philosophers have argued over the power of reason to bring about change. But abstract reason on its own, it turns out, is unable to motivate us. Simply knowing what the right thing to do is, isn’t enough. It’s only when our emotions, when our empathy, become engaged that we feel the pull of our reasoning, argues Lori Gruen.


The world is a far from perfect place. There are so many problems confronting us – wars, poverty, injustice, racism, climate change. And it’s not just humans who are facing such devastation. Animals are being killed  by the trillions, annually, in industrial food systems and are perishing in their dwindling and increasingly polluted habitats.  Many of us want to change the world for the better, make a difference, b

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