School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences

Professor Michael Cholbi honoured by Royal Institute of Philosophy for essay on emotions

Personal Chair in Philosophy named as joint winner of the annual prize for his essay ‘Empathy and Psychopaths’ Inability to Grieve’

Professor Michael Cholbi

Each year the Royal Institute of Philosophy (RIP) holds an essay prize competition.  The winner receives £2,500 and their essay is published in the RIP’s flagship publication Philosophy.

The topic for this year’s prize was ‘Emotions’. Michael’s article reflected his longstanding interest in the ethical perplexities raised by grief.

Entries were assessed by originality, clarity of expression, breadth of interest, and potential for advancing discussion.

The judging panel described the essay as a gripping and stylishly written account of the temporal limitations of psychopathic psychology.

“It’s a great honour to be recognized by the Royal Institute, which has a distinguished history of promoting excellence in philosophical research. The article considers one such perplexity: Why do psychopaths grieve little if at all? Ultimately (I argue) this psychopathic deficiency results from the defining feature of psychopaths — their lack of interpersonal empathy — but we need to alter the conventional philosophical understanding of empathy in order to explain psychopaths’ inability to grieve. My hope is that the article will spark wider discussion about the psychological mechanisms that enable grief.”

Professor Michael Cholbi

Empathy and Psychopaths’ Inability to Grieve is available to read on the Cambridge University Press Website.

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