Compassion and pity: An evaluation of Nussbaum's analysis and defense

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7 (5):487 - 511 (2005)
In this paper I argue that Martha Nussbaums Aristotelian analysis of compassion and pity is faulty, largely because she fails to distinguish between (a) an emotions basic constitutive conditions and the associated constitutive or intrinsic norms, (b) extrinsic normative conditions, for instance, instrumental and moral considerations, and (c) the causal conditions under which emotion is most likely to be experienced. I also argue that her defense of compassion and pity as morally valuable emotions is inadequate because she treats a wide variety of objections as all stemming from a common commitment to a Stoic conception of the good. I argue that these objections can be construed as neutral between conceptions of the good. I conclude by arguing that construed in this way there are nonetheless plausible replies to these objections.
Keywords compassion  Martha Nussbaum  morality and motivation  Nietzsche  pity
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