Just saw the announcement for the conference ‘Sympathies and Antipathies: Altruism and Emotional Response Across the Disciplines’ (to be held at CRASSH, Cambridge, UK, 29-30 May), which will
chart this territory in which earlier models of fellow-feeling, compassion, and commiseration are taken up in modern science, fiction, film, and social policy; and to explore how these models are re-worked in conjunction with new constructs like empathy, altruism, and humanitarianism.
(more here). What is it about this topic (and Briton Riviere’s image above) that gives rise to so much sympathy? It’s contagious.