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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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Defining Compassion

Defining Compassion

(p.87) Chapter Three Defining Compassion
Compassion and Moral Guidance

Steve Bein

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter draws upon the analyses of chapters 1 and 2 to describe a functional, philosophically precise account of compassion. This account runs against linguistic intuitions (at least in English) for it extends to sharing in happiness as well as sharing in suffering. The “passion” of compassion finds its root in the Latin patī (“to suffer” or “to submit”), but this in turn finds its root in the Greek paschein, which is not “to suffer” but “to feel.” The chapter also describes compassion's application in moral theory, specifically compassionate virtue ethics, and shows how this theory would provide constructive moral guidance.

Keywords:   compassion, happiness, suffering, sharing, moral theory, virtue ethics, moral guidance

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