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Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume 8, Issue 1, Spring 2001

Lani Roberts
Pages 13-19
DOI: 10.5840/pcw2001811

Barriers to Feeling and Actualizing Compassion

Hume and Rousseau argue that “feeling with and/or for others” is natural and basic to us as human persons. but Royce claims that merely feeling the fleeting impulse of sympathy is not the moral insight itself. Compassion must be both felt and acted upon for it to play the role in morality ascribed by Hume and Rousseau. Why is it so often the case that we fail to feel compassion for others and, even when we do, why do we often fail to act on this basis? There are multiple socially constructed barriers to feeling and acting on compassion, three of which are discussed: null curriculum. stereotyping and privileges. Finally, the Dalai Lama maintains that it is in every person’s own self-interest to develop compassion for others because it is the source of both inner and external peace.

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