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Empathy and Morality$
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Heidi L. Maibom

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199969470

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199969470.001.0001

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Psychological Altruism, Empathy, and Offender Rehabilitation

Psychological Altruism, Empathy, and Offender Rehabilitation

(p.210) 11 Psychological Altruism, Empathy, and Offender Rehabilitation
Empathy and Morality

Tony Ward

Russil Durrant

Oxford University Press

Treatment programs for serious offenders such as sex offenders typically include an empathy-training component as part of a comprehensive intervention package. The reasons for doing so are partly based on research evidence indicating that social disconnection and relationship ruptures often trigger offending and also because it is hard for people to grasp how individuals can inflict severe harm on others without lacking empathic capacities. This chapter examines Philip Kitcher’s concept of psychological altruism and altruism failure and considers its conceptual relationship to empathy and morality. It then applies Kitcher’s multidimensional concept of altruism to the field of sex offender rehabilitation and argues that it can provide a useful ethical resource through which to approach the various tasks of practice.

Keywords:   empathy, sex offenders, rehabilitation, altruism, Philip Kitcher

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