Noûs (forthcoming)

Colin Marshall
University of Washington
On the traditional reading, Schopenhauer claims that compassion is the recognition of deep metaphysical unity. In this paper, I defend and develop the traditional reading. I begin by addressing three recent criticisms of the reading from Sandra Shapshay: that it fails to accommodate Schopenhauer's restriction to sentient beings, that it cannot explain his moral ranking of egoism over malice, and that Schopenhauer requires some level of distinction to remain in compassion. Against Shapshay, I argue that Schopenhauer does not restrict compassion to sentient beings and that a more metaphysically refined version of the traditional reading can accommodate both Schopenhauer's moral ranking of characters and allow for some level of distinction in compassion. I then turn to four further questions for the traditional reading: what the relation is between the feeling of compassionate pain and the recognition of metaphysical unity, how cognitions mediate compassion, whether compassion is limited to the present, and how the feeling of compassion relates to Schopenhauer's fundamental moral principle. I conclude by explaining how, in a reductive vein, the traditional reading can also allow for compassion to have normative content.
Keywords Schopenhauer  compassion  monism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/nous.12330
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

A Puzzle About Belief.Saul A. Kripke - 1979 - In A. Margalit (ed.), Meaning and Use. Reidel. pp. 239--83.
Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals.Iris Murdoch - 1992 - Allen Lane, Penguin Press.
Is Empathy Necessary for Morality.Jesse J. Prinz - 2011 - In Amy Coplan & Peter Goldie (eds.), Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives. Oxford University Press. pp. 211--229.
Imperative Content and the Painfulness of Pain.Manolo Martínez - 2011 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 10 (1):67-90.

View all 17 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Schopenhauer's Titus Argument.Colin Marshall - forthcoming - In Patrick Hassan (ed.), Schopenhauer's Moral Philosophy. Routledge.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

On Compassion: The Good Beyond Values.Topi Heikkerö - 2017 - Dialogue and Universalism 27 (4):189-201.
Schopenhauer, Kant and Compassion.Paul Guyer - 2012 - Kantian Review 17 (3):403-429.
Schopenhauer's Critique of Kant's Foundation for Morals.Mark Lehman Koontz - 1993 - Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
Schopenhauer and Non-Cognitivist Moral Realism.Colin Marshall - 2017 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (2):293-316.
Can Compassion Be Taught?G. E. Pence - 1983 - Journal of Medical Ethics 9 (4):189-191.


Added to PP index

Total views
409 ( #21,928 of 2,461,988 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
120 ( #5,177 of 2,461,988 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes