On Compassion: The Good Beyond Values
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This paper is a dialogue that considers compassion as a grounding for ethics. Its ap-proach is thematic but it draws significantly from Arthur Schopenhauer’s account of compassion (Mitleid). In Schopenhauer’s thought, values (Werthe) are functions of a subject’s willing and therefore inevitably tied to an ego-centric viewpoint. Real ethics needs to find a good beyond subjective valuations. Schopenhauer finds an ethical phe-nomenon beyond values in Mitleid, “suffering-together,” compassion. Compassion is a pre-reflective benevolent feeling toward another’s suffering. Compassion can occur only if the ego-world duality is overcome at least to some extent. In this way compas-sion is a metaphysical sentiment.
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