I was reading this discussion, which trigged a larger question: What do philosophers have to say about apathy?

Consider de facto white supremacy, for example. It's easy to point a finger at famous bigots, but we could take a huge bite out of racism if ordinary people simple cared.

Another example is climate change. The U.S. has repeatedly snubbed efforts to fight it, and most U.S. citizens are just along for the ride. Is it thus fair to blame apathetic Americans in part for climate change and other environmental disasters?

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    Your question is currently "what do philosophers say about...". That is rather broad, could you narrow it down a little? See How to Ask for more information. – user2953 Aug 6 '17 at 5:17

I am not sure about other philosophers, but Slavoj Zizek does have something to say about the apathy of "the Left" - not necessarily in terms of doing nothing, but rather in terms of not thinking seriously about the position we are in at the moment ... perhaps, in other words, taking for granted that capitalism is "bad" and yet not thinking seriously about how we are more than likely, ourselves, implicated in the psychology of capitalism through commodity fetishism. So it is less about apathy in the sense of doing nothing, than apathy in the sense of "sleeping through" the time when we could be addressing the roots of the coming crisis - it is more a focus on the direction of our thinking than the productivity of any political activity. Especially since, we may use the appearance of our own "productivity" in engaging in politics as confirmation of our being on the right track, when indeed we may be on the wrong track. And Zizek's criticism is mostly directed towards the apathy of the Left. I think he would also say there is a danger in being overly self-conscious about politically correct condemnation of the "European legacy", since there is still something worth defending in the "European" ideas of autonomy of the individual and humanism. So, a European Leftist should be aware of what is worth defending in the "European legacy", instead of being necessarily self-effacing about "European values", since that is another way something may be lost, while the European Leftist sleeps through, and so could be accused of apathy from which she cannot excuse herself.

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