more from Baruch de Spinoza

Single Idea 17218

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / f. Compassion]

Full Idea

A man who lives according to the dictates of reason endeavours as much as possible to prevent himself from being touched by pity.

Gist of Idea

People who live according to reason should avoid pity


Baruch de Spinoza (The Ethics [1675], IV Pr 50)

Book Reference

Spinoza,Benedict de: 'Ethics', ed/tr. White,WH/Stirling,AH [Wordsworth 2001], p.199

A Reaction

Since pity seems to give rise to some thoroughly good actions, I am not quite clear how reason would give rise to those same actions unaided. The alleviation of another's pain seems to have no pure motivation, if there is no empathy.

Related Ideas

Idea 17219 A person unmoved by either reason or pity to help others is rightly called 'inhuman' [Spinoza]

Idea 17223 Pity is not a virtue, but at least it shows a desire to live uprightly [Spinoza]