I ran across a great word a few years ago but I neglected to write it down and am hoping someone here will know it.
The word meant the ability to put one's self in or empathize with any category of people represented in a situation, esp. when the category in which one might reside is unknown or ambiguous. Thus, the word would be appropriate if one's belonging to a category might change (becoming a paraplegic, owing lots on student loans) but not if categories are unlikely to change (eye color, adult height, wealth). It was used in the context of social policy and people's ability to imagine themselves in any of the categories of people handled by the policy, to ensure that the policy was fair. It had connotations of even-handedness, fairness, and empathy; i.e., being aware that "But for the grace of God, that could be me". I'm not sure if it was an adjective or a noun.
A sample sentence: "Sen. Blorp was conspicuously lacking in >>word<<, as he disparaged the difficulty of making end-of-life decisions for a family member in a persistent vegetative state."
The word is not: empathy, equipoise, even-handed, fair, equitable. It is at least one step more obscure than these.
I feel like this description is lacking; perhaps questions will help me clarify it.