On the Suffering of Compassion

Philosophia 39 (1):125-144 (2011)
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Abstract

Compassion is often described in terms of suffering. This paper investigates the nature of this suffering. It is argued that compassion involves suffering of a particular kind. To begin with a case is made for the negative claim that compassion does not involve an ordinary, or afflictive, suffering over something. Secondly, it is argued that the suffering of compassion is a suffering for someone else’s sake: If you feel compassion for another person, P, then you suffer over P:s suffering for P:s sake, and if that is all you do, then you are not affected with an afflictive suffering over something. The final section identifies and addresses a problem concerning self-pity, and a suggestion is made on how to specify the proposed account so as to cover both self-directed and other-directed compassion

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Peter Nilsson
Dalarna University

Citations of this work

Suffering Pains.Olivier Massin - 2020 - In Jennifer Corns & Michael S. Brady David Bain (ed.), Philosophy of Suffering: Metaphysics, Value and Normativity. London: Routledge. pp. 76-100.

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References found in this work

The Theory of Moral Sentiments.Adam Smith - 1759 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Edited by Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya.
The Emotions: A Philosophical Exploration.Peter Goldie - 2000 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Moral thinking: its levels, method, and point.R. M. Hare (ed.) - 1981 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Formalism in ethics and non-formal ethics of values.Max Scheler - 1973 - Evanston,: Northwestern University Press.

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