Over the first two chapters compassion has been characterised as a virtue drawing out of our emotions; a virtue, that is, the meaning and enactment of which stems from a given feeling. In the case of compassion, this feeling is in the form of a sorrow occasioned by the suffering of others, deepened by empathy, and given further meaning by a sense of care or fellow-feeling for those who are suffering. As a virtue, we can understand compassion as a morally positive character trait or disposition which is, at least in part, formed and expressed in action. Indeed, if compassion is to be more than reducible to a particular morally relevant emotional state, albeit one which involves reason, how we enact compassion seems crucial.
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