Entangled Empathy: An Alternative Ethic for Our Relationships with Animals
In Entangled Empathy, scholar and activist Lori Gruen argues that rather than focusing on animal “rights,” we ought to work to make our relationships with animals right by empathetically responding to their needs, interests, desires, vulnerabilities, hopes, and unique perspectives. Pointing out that we are already entangled in complex and life-altering relationships with other animals, Gruen guides readers through a new way of thinking about—and practicing—animal ethics. Gruen describes entangled empathy as a type of caring perception focused on attending to another’s experience of well-being. It is an experiential process involving a blend of emotion and cognition in which we recognize we are in relationships with others and are called upon to be responsive and responsible in these relationships by attending to another. When we engage in entangled empathy we are transformed and in that transformation we can imagine less violent, more meaningful ways of being together.