“Imagining She’s White: Race and the Moral Psychology of Empathy”
What is empathy? What role, if any, does empathy properly occupy in our moral thinking? In this paper I offer two accounts of empathy and a critique of the moral significance of empathy—most notably from Jesse Prinz—before thinking specifically about the role that empathy plays in medicine. I argue that racial politics matter in thinking about empathy. Finally, I will offer a hypothetical case to show that empathy’s role in health justice can best be understood in the context of structural injustice. What I initially thought would be a full-throated endorsement of empathy has turned out to be more tentative consideration of the place for empathy in healthcare.