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Single Idea 17223

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

Full Idea

Pity, like shame, although it is not a virtue, is nevertheless good, in so far as it shows that a desire of living uprightly is present in the man who is possessed with shame.

Gist of Idea

Pity is not a virtue, but at least it shows a desire to live uprightly


Baruch de Spinoza (The Ethics [1675], IV Pr 58)

Book Reference

Spinoza,Benedict de: 'Ethics', ed/tr. White,WH/Stirling,AH [Wordsworth 2001], p.205

A Reaction

And yet, in so far as I am rational, it seems that I should endeavour to suppress pity and replace it with right reason. Does Spinoza feel loyalty to the human race, I wonder?

Related Ideas

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

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