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Empathy, Anger, & the Righting of Injustice

Tuesday, March 15

A 2016 Discussion: We respond to injustice with intense emotions. How can empathy with the oppressed and anger at the oppressor help to right the wrongs of the world?

What do emotions have to do with justice?

Nicholas Wolterstorff asks, What is the role of the emotions of empathy and anger in the struggle to correct injustice? And why is it that some people feel empathy with certain victims of injustice, and anger at those who are oppressing them, whereas other people do not? How can empathy and anger be aroused?

About Nicholas Wolterstorff

Nicholas Wolterstorff received his A.B. from Calvin College in 1953 and his Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University in 1956. After teaching philosophy for two years at Yale, he returned to the philosophy department at his alma mater in 1959. He returned to Yale in 1989, where he was a member of the Divinity School, the Philosophy Department, and the Religious Studies Department. He has taught, during leaves of absence, at Haverford College, the University of Michigan, Princeton University, the University of Texas, Notre Dame University, and the Free University of Amsterdam. He retired from teaching at the end of 2001 and is Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, Yale University.

He has been President of the American Philosophical Association (Central Division) and of the Society of Christian Philosophers; he is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among the named lectures he has given are the Wilde Lectures at Oxford University, the Gifford Lectures at St. Andrews University, the Stone Lectures at Princeton Seminary, and the Taylor Lectures at Yale. Among the books he has published are On Universals, Works and Worlds of Art, Art in Action, Until Justice and Peace Embrace, Reason within the Bounds of Religion, Divine Discourse, John Locke and the Ethics of Belief, Thomas Reid and the Story of Epistemology, Educating for Shalom, Lament for a Son, Justice: Rights and Wrongs, and Justice in Love.