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At first sight, it is hard to imagine a full account of our moral and social lives that has nothing to say about compassion. The moral value of compassion is emphasized in many religious traditions; and many moral theorists have taken compassion to play a foundational role in our moral lives. Yet there is no agreed account of what compassion is. There is disagreement, too, about compassion’s value – about how, exactly, it contributes to morally admirable or flourishing lives; what its limitations and dangers might be; and whether there are other, preferable sources of moral motivation. Finally, assuming that compassion is indeed something to be valued, we might wonder how it can be cultivated. After sketching some of the background to these debates surrounding compassion (in the introduction) the book follows with ten original and accessible chapters written by both philosophers and social scientists.
A few upshots from the book is that it 1) investigates compassion from both from a theoretical standpoint and in particular practical contexts and 2) brings together a range of viewpoints, including Aristotelian ethics, Kantian ethics and Buddhist thought.
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The book can be purchased on amazon or on the publisher's website.