Today I’d like toÂ try a philosophical question and see how it goes:Â
Is compassion a virtue?
The answerÂ might seem obvious at first, but a little reflection exposes some possible flaws.Â Many philosophers have been skeptical about compassion, as evidenced by this article.
Some of theÂ criticisms include:
- Compassion is an emotion.Â Can an emotion be a virtue?
- Is it true that you only have compassion forÂ those you understand, meaning thatÂ your compassion is directed atÂ thoseÂ most like yourself or in situations that could happen to you?Â Maybe even situations that you personally fear?Â If so, is that virtuous?
- And what about compassion afforded to the undeserving?Â How can compassion be good whenÂ resulting actionsÂ lead toÂ the self-destruction of the giver, the enabling of the givee, or both?