Objectivity | Empathy | Types of Empathy | Cognitive Empathy | Emotional Empathy | Affective Empathy | Somatic Empathy | Sympathy | Compassion | Tolerance | Importance of Compassion and Tolerance | Difference between Tolerance and Compassion | IAS TARGET IAS Target

Objectivity and Empathy


Objectivity is a philosophical opinion or method that believes that reality exists outside of the human mind. People can separate their own ideas and opinions from the observations they make. Objective observations are true no matter who makes the observation. Being objective helps people focus on things that everyone can agree on.
The Scientific method claims objectivity , while the opposite of objectivity is subjectivity. For example, "I am wearing white socks" can be a scientific fact, regardless of whether that proposition is verified by repeatable careful observation or measurement. Similarly, "I like chocolate ice cream" is a fact that can be stored in a demographic database. In contrast, "chocolate ice cream tastes good" is an opinion. "Tastes good" is not an intrinsic attribute of chocolate ice cream, and it is dependent on your perceptions as an observer.


Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another's position. Definitions of empathy encompass a broad range of emotional states.
Types of empathy include
  • Cognitive Empathy

The capacity to understand another's perspective or mental state. The terms cognitive empathy and theory of mind or mentalizing are often used synonymously, but due to a lack of studies comparing theory of mind with types of empathy, it is unclear whether these are equivalent. Although science has not yet agreed upon a precise definition of these constructs, there is consensus about this distinction.

Affective and cognitive empathy are also independent from one another; someone who strongly empathizes emotionally is not necessarily good in understanding another's perspective.

      Cognitive empathy can be subdivided into the following scales:

      Perspective-taking the propensity to impulsively adopt others' psychological perspectives.
      Fantasy the propensity to identify with imaginary characters.
      Tactical (or strategic") empathy: the intentional use of perspective-taking to realize certain desired ends.

    • Emotional Empathy or Affective Empathy
      Affective empathy, also called emotional empathy the capacity to respond with an appropriate emotion to another's mental state. Our capability to empathize emotionally is based on emotional contagion, being affected by another's emotional or arousal state
      Affective empathy can be subdivided into the following scales:
      Empathic concern sympathy & compassion for others in response to their suffering and misery.
      Personal distress self-centered feelings of discomfort & anxiety in response to another's suffering and misery.

    There is no opinion regarding whether personal distress is a cardinal form of empathy or, instead, does not comprise empathy. There may be a developmental side to this division. Newborns answer to the distress of others by getting distressed themselves; when newborns are two years old, they start to answer in other-oriented ways, trying to help, comfort and share.

    Somatic Empathy

    Somatic empathy is a physical reaction, probably based on mirror neuron responses in the somatic nervous system.

Significance of Empathy

Empathy is a very important aspect of daily life for every person. This is because it allows us to show Compassion to other people and relate to our friends, relatives, loved ones, colleagues, & even strangers, hence influencing the world in a positive manner. Some of the dimensions where sympathy is needed include:
  • In Our Personal Lives
    A healthy relationship requires care, nurture, & understanding. For example, a romantic relationship or friendship with no empathy or understanding is bound to fail. This is because when one of the parties in a relationship only thinks of their personal interests, the other one may suffer and opt out. The same applies to marriages; in case one spouse fails to see things from the perspective of the other, they are likely to experience serious marital issues. This is because people are different in terms of their life experiences, ideas, and struggles, and if you cannot relate to your spouse's feelings or perspectives, they are likely to feel unloved.
  • In Our Work Life
    For most people, in workplaces or workshops, where all employees and colleagues work in teamwork, and for those things that require a collective effort, you will need to relate to your co-workers even if you are not working on the same project. This will help in ensuring that you have a smooth working relationship and prevent workplace disagreements. In addition, the management also needs to have empathy so as to avoid subjecting the employees to unfair practices.
  • For the World
    From the global perspective, empathy is infinitely important, particularly if it ends in Compassion. This kind of empathy usually compels people to step in and help people that have been struck by major disasters, even if they are total strangers to them since they will have an understanding that they too would need such assistance if they were in a similar situation.

Are We Born with Empathy, or Acquire it from others?

While there is enough evidence that points to the reality that our capability to empathize can be discovered back to our genetic predisposition, it is also correct that empathy, like any other skill, can actually be increased or decreased. It is part of emotional intelligence (EI), which you can educate your children at their early stages in life. You can upskill your children to share their things, avoid hurting others and feel with those that are harmed.

How to Significantly Improve Your Empathy Levels

It is important to note that while it is easy to train a child to be empathetic, as an adult, you can also increase your levels of empathy. Ideally, this can be done by reading literary fiction with lessons, themes, or characters that show empathy towards others. The other ways include; listening to other people and trying to understand those people that could have opinions and beliefs that are different from ours.


syn together
pathos Feeling

Sympathy (means "fellow-feeling")

Sympathy refers to the feeling, perception, understanding, and response to the distress or needful of another life form. This sympathetic concern is guided by a switch in viewpoint from a personal perspective to the perspective of another person or group who is in need. David Hume explained that this is the case because "the minds of all men are similar in their feelings and operations."
and that "the motion of one communicates itself to the rest" so that as affectations readily pass from one to another, they beget corresponding movements.


Compassion stimulates people to go out of their way to help the physical, mental, or emotional pains of another person or group. Compassion is often considered as having sensitivity, an emotional aspect to pain and suffering, though when based on cerebral notions like fairness, justice & interdependence, may be considered logical in nature & its application is accepted as an activity also based on strong judgment.There is also a sense of equal dimension. Just like that an individual person's Compassion is often given a property of depth, vigor, or passion. The historical development of "compassion" is Latin, meaning "co suffering or suffering with others." Compassion embrace "feeling for another" & is a precursor to empathy, the "feeling as another" capacity for better person-centered acts of active Compassion; in common parlance, active Compassion is the desire to alleviate another's suffering. Compassion involves allowing our own selves to be moved by suffering and experiencing the motivation to help eliminate and prevent it. An action of Compassion is defined by its helpfulness.

Qualities of compassion are

  • patience and wisdom;
  • kindness and perseverance;
  • warmth
  • resolve.
It is frequently, though not inevitably, the key element in what demonstrates in the social context as altruism. Articulation of Compassion is prone to be hierarchical, paternalistic, and controlling in responses. Sympathy and Compassion are different in the manner that the former reply to suffering from sorrow and concern while the latter with warmth and care.
Ways to inculcate Compassion
  • Teaching the four noble truths from Buddhism.
  • Loving-kindness meditation– you’ve to think good things about …..
  • People you respect and love.
  • Your beloved persons within family and friend-circle.
  • People for whom you’ve no love or hatred (neutral people.) e.g. Pan-walla, Chai-walla.
  • People you hate.

Importance of Compassion

  • Alleviate the suffering and contributes to the prosperity of the whole, making the world a better place to live
  • Opens your heart
  • Expand your perspective and identity as you discover your commonality with others, realize that
  • Just like you, they experience suffering
  • Increases your happiness, fulfillment & wellbeing
  • Compassion allows you to become better connected, improving your social, ecological, and religious relationships and stirring loyalty and commitment in your regular relationships
  • Compassion ameliorates your health by strengthening your immune system, normalizing your blood pressure, lowering your distress and depression, improving your physical recovery
  • From illness and even extending your life
  • Understand yourself & others more as you seek to relieve suffering
  • Increases the possibilities for peace and reconciliation where there is conflict


Tolerance is restraint from reacting to unpleasing or unfavorable happenings. It requires high morale, forbearance, patience, and a large heart to tolerate.
Tolerance is fundamental for forgiveness and respect for contradictory views and practices. Tolerance may have both positive and negative connotations. It implies being respectful towards others and their viewpoints.
It also means restraint on one's part despite others' provocation or wrongdoing.

Importance of Tolerance

Individual Level: Tolerance teaches one to be respect others and not impose our will on others.Beef may be religiously proscribed for the majority but it may be part of someone's culture. It helps us to broaden our perspective and thinking
Societal Level promotes peace. Tolerance towards various linguistic groups have cemented India's unity whereas its absence led to division of Pakistan and civil war in Sri Lanka
Government Level helps increase its legitimacy and inspire confidence even among the dissidents. The accommodative policies of Nehru was largely responsible for many Mizo insurgents to take part in elections
International Relations helps maintain peace and security. India's restraint towards Pakistan despite repeated attacks (26/11, Pathankot, Gurdaspur) has defeated the adversary's aim, promoted peace and strengthened India's standing.

The Ethics of tolerance reinforces many values useful in todays' world such as:

  • Respect for others
    There is widespread Islamophobia in western countries. This has contributed to increase in terrorists
  • Increases one's own Resilence. The above mentioned example of India is apt.
  • Compels one’s adversary to change by realizing the futility of their provocations
  • Reinforces Constitutional values of Fraternity, Liberty, Freedom of Speech, Secularism.

Difference between Tolerance and Compassion

Compassion Tolerance
Having, feeling or showing compassion; sympathetic. Tending to permit, allow, understand, or accept something. Ex: He's pretty tolerant of different political views, but don't ask him about religion.
There never was any heart truly great and generous that was not also tender and compassionate Tending to withstand or survive. Ex: These plants are tolerant of drought and sunlight.
Of a leave, given to someone because of a domestic emergency.Inviting pity; pitiable

Empathy v/s Sympathy

It's not easy to differentiate between sympathy and empathy. The main difference between empathy and sympathy is understanding a feeling versus actually experiencing another's feelings. Instead, you are able to understand what the person is feeling. For example, if someone's father has passed away, you may not be able to viscerally feel that person's pain. However, you can employ your cognitive skills and emotional intelligence to understand that your friend is sad. It makes sense, then, to send sympathy cards when you understand that someone is suffering. You are not feeling that person's pain, but you want them to know you are aware of their suffering. Typically, people can sympathize much easier than they can empathize.

Empathy vs Compassion

An important difference between empathy and Compassion is how they can affect a person's overall well-being. If any person frequently feels the pain of not only another person but any creature created by nature, you may experience a big deal of burnout. This is a common worry for caregivers and health care providers, & it has been categorized as "empathy fatigue." Compassion, nonetheless, is a renewable resource. When you have the capability to feel empathy for the other person but then extend a hand to alleviate someone's pain, you are less likely to burn out. Research indicates that Compassion and empathy employ different regions of the brain and that Compassion can combat empathetic distress. Don't take it from me, though. The Dalai Lama famously said in the book The Art of Happiness, "If you want others to be joyful and happy, exercise Compassion. If you want to be happy, exercise Compassion."