more from Baruch de Spinoza

Single Idea 17219

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

Full Idea

He who is moved neither by reason nor pity to be of any service to others is properly called inhuman; for he seems to be unlike a man.

Gist of Idea

A person unmoved by either reason or pity to help others is rightly called 'inhuman'


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

Book Reference

Spinoza,Benedict de: 'Ethics', ed/tr. White,WH/Stirling,AH [Wordsworth 2001], p.200

A Reaction

Calling someone 'inhuman' doesn't seem like much of a condemnation. Nietzschean aristocrats may take pride in being above the mere 'human'. We gather here that if reason failed to motivate helping others, then pity would be a good thing.

Related Ideas

Idea 17218 People who live according to reason should avoid pity [Spinoza]

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