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Compassion and Moral Guidance$
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Steve Bein

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836412

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836412.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

What Is Compassion, and What Is It Not?

What Is Compassion, and What Is It Not?

(p.1) Chapter One What Is Compassion, and What Is It Not?
Compassion and Moral Guidance

Steve Bein

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter analyzes pity, love, sympathy, and other traits associated with compassion as they appear in the works of Scheler, Aristotle, Aquinas and Augustine, Hume, Rousseau, and Nietzsche. It also takes up analyses of compassion offered by several contemporary philosophers, including Robert Solomon and Martha Nussbaum. It identifies the following eight conditions that a robust account of compassion must meet in order to avoid problems that have plagued earlier accounts of pity, sympathy, love, and so on: (1) it must be an ethically primary trait; (2) it must recognize the role of affective as well as cognitive activity in moral decision making; (3) it must be capable of generating personally directed imperatives; (4) it must recognize from its very roots the irreducible relationality of human existence; (5) it must be as concerned with the promotion of satisfaction as it is concerned with the alleviation of suffering; (6) it must not degrade its object; (7) it must not be essentially comparative or competitive in nature; and (8) it must not be so narrow in scope that it fails to encompass all those worthy of moral consideration.

Keywords:   compassion, Scheler, Aristotle, Aquinas, Augustine, Hume, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Robert Solomon, Martha Nussbaum

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