The concept, benefits and recommendations for the cultivation of compassion have been recognized in the contemplative traditions for thousands of years. In the last 30 years or so, the study of compassion has revealed it to have major physiological and psychological effects influencing well-being, addressing mental health difficulties, and promoting prosocial behavior. This paper outlines an evolution informed biopsychosocial, multicomponent model to caring behavior and its derivative “compassion” that underpins newer approaches to psychotherapy. The paper explores the origins of caring (...) motives and the nature and biopsychosocial functions of caring-attachment behavior. These include providing a secure base and safe haven for offspring along with physiological regulating functions, which are also central for compassion focused therapy. Second, it suggests that it is the way recent human cognitive competencies give rise to different types of “mind awareness” and “knowing intentionality” that transform basic caring motives into potentials for compassion. While we can care for our gardens and treasured objects, the concept of compassion is only used for sentient beings who can “suffer.” As psychotherapy addresses mental suffering, cultivating the motives and competencies of compassion to self and others can be a central focus for psychotherapy. (shrink)
What is philosophy? How should we do it? Why should we bother to? These are the kinds of questions addressed by metaphilosophy - the philosophical study of the nature of philosophy itself. Students of philosophy today are faced with a confusing and daunting array of philosophical methods, approaches and styles and also deep divisions such as the notorious rift between analytic and Continental philosophy. This book takes readers through a full range of approaches - analytic versus Continental, scientistic versus humanistic, (...) 'pure' versus applied - enabling them to locate and understand these different ways of doing philosophy. Clearly and accessibly written, it will stimulate reflection on philosophical practice and will be invaluable for students of philosophy and other philosophically inclined readers. (shrink)
For thousands of years, various spiritual traditions and social activists have appealed to humans to adopt compassionate ways of living to address the suffering of life. Yet, along with our potential for compassion and self-sacrifice, the last few thousand years of wars, slavery, tortures, and holocausts have shown humans can be extraordinarily selfish, callous, vicious, and cruel. While there has been considerable engagement with these issues, particularly in the area of moral psychology and ethics, this paper explores an evolutionary analysis (...) relating to evolved resource-regulation strategies that can be called “care and share” versus “control and hold.” Control and hold are typical of primates that operate through intimidatory social hierarchies. Care and share are less common in non-human primates, but evolved radically in humans during our hunter-gatherer stage when our ancestors lived in relatively interdependent, small, mobile groups. In these groups, individualistic, self-focus, and self-promoting control and hold strategies were shunned and shamed. These caring and sharing hunter-gatherer lifestyles also created the social contexts for the evolution of new forms of childcare and complex human competencies for language, reasoning, planning, empathy, and self-awareness. As a result of our new ‘intelligence’, our ancestors developed agriculture that reduced mobility, increased group size, resource availability and storage, and resource competition. These re-introduced competing for, rather than sharing of, resources and advantaged those who now pursue control and hold strategies. Many of our most typical forms of oppressive and anti-compassionate behavior are the result of these strategies. Rather than thinking about individuals competing with one another, we can also consider these different resource regulation strategies as competing within populations shaping psychophysiological patterns; both wealth and poverty change the brain. One of the challenges to creating a more compassionate society is to find ways to create the social and economic conditions that regulate control and hold strategies and promote care and share. No easy task. (shrink)
Emotions evolved to guide animals in pursuing specific motives and goals. They function as short-term alertors and regulators of behaviour and can be grouped into their evolved functions. Emotions can coregulate/influence each other, where one emotion can activate or suppress another. Importantly, affiliative emotions, that arise from experiencing validation, care and support from others, have major impacts on how people process and respond to threats and emotions associated with threats. Hence, exploring how affiliative emotional experiences change and transform the capacity (...) to cope with threat and pursue life goals, are salient research issues. (shrink)
In this, the first truly philosophical study of nationalism, Paul Gilbert attempts to make sense of the fact that there are different sorts of nationalism—for example, political and cultural—and that each concept functions with a different understanding of what a nation is. He sets out to explore whether there are any common ideas about what constitutes nationhood and whether these “nations” have particular rights due to them. By treating nationalism as a coherent body of ideas, the text permits a rational (...) reconstruction of the origins of nationalist movements. The book also examines the work of many key theorists, including Mill, Hume, Gramsci, and Gellner, in its coverage of secession, immigration, cultural rights and multiculturalism, and the aesthetics of nationalism. (shrink)
This chapter directs attention to calls to integrate compassion training in curricula throughout the education system. Following a review of current Higher Education aims and objectives, and the potential psychological impacts that these can have on staff and students, we outline a case for compassion based initiatives in education. We discuss the nature and functions of compassion, as well as how compassion can heighten prosocial competencies. We then consider how compassion based approaches can be - and have been - implemented (...) in education settings, including HE, to promote the health and well-being of staff and students, as well as academic performance. We argue that elements of compassion should underpin the training of lecturers, as well as students, if UK institutes of learning truly embrace the various core values they advertise. (shrink)
Over the last half-century, quality control standards have had the perverse effect of restricting the circulation of non-commercially bred vegetable cultivars in Britain. Recent European and British legislation attempts to compensate for this loss of agrodiversity by relaxing genetic purity standards and the cost of seed marketing for designated “Amateur” and “Conservation” varieties. Drawing on fieldwork conducted at a British allotment site, this article cautions against bringing genetically heterogeneous cultivars into the commercial sphere. Such a move may intensify the horticultural (...) “deskilling” of British allotment gardeners, who have come to rely on commercial seed catalogs as sources of germplasm and knowledge. Horticultural deskilling also entails the delegation of seed selection activities to professional breeders and the potential loss of agrodiversity. The activities of dedicated seed savers who save and circulate the seed of genetically heterogeneous “heritage” varieties, in a manner similar to the management of landraces in the global South, may provide a better model for attempts to safeguard vegetable diversity in the global North. (shrink)
One of the traditional requirements of jus in bello is that military action should be proportionate in the loss and injury caused to troops to the military objectives it secures. However, the ?overwhelming force? applied in two Gulf Wars has been criticised as disproportionate. This article suggests a criterion for judging whether force is proportionate by considering what those who enter the profession of arms might be expected to tolerate or to undertake. A tacit agreement between troops on each side (...) is postulated, breaches of which count as unfair conduct, including cases of the disproportionate use of force. (shrink)
A welcome introduction to one of the most intellectually demanding areas of the undergraduate philosophy curriculum. The authors provide a clear framework within which students can fit contemporary developments in the Anglo-American tradition which provide the core themes of philosophy of mind and which connect to their other work in epistemology and philosophy of language.
If morality concerns the question how to live then can it be a science? Can there be a science of how to live? Hilary Putnam who poses this question answers it thus:1 logically impossible. But, he reassures us, . In the meantime moral reasoning must engage . This is developed through in literature. If the computer takes over, of course, then . So too, he says, may science, not because redundant but because complete in its explanatory and predictive power.
The last 20 years have seen the development of a new form of therapy, compassion focused therapy. Although CFT has a growing evidence base, there have been few studies of CFT outside of an Anglo-European cultural context. In this paper, we ask: Might a CFT-based approach be of value for Indigenous Australians? If so, what kind of cultural adaptations might be needed? We report the findings from a pilot study of an arts-based compassion skills training group, in which usual CFT (...) group processes were significantly adapted to meet the needs of Indigenous Australians. At face value, CFT appeared to be a promising approach to enhancing the social and emotional wellbeing of Australia’s Indigenous peoples. However, despite initial consultations with Indigenous health professionals, the first attempts to offer a more conventional group-based CFT to Indigenous clients were largely unsuccessful. Following a review and advice from two Indigenous clients, we combined elements of CFT with visual arts to develop a new approach, “arts-based compassion skills training”. This paper reports an evaluation of this pilot ABCST group. The group had 6 × 4 h sessions of ABCST, facilitated by two psychologists and two artists. There were 10 participants, who attended between 2 and 6 sessions: five were clients, five were health professionals. Between 1 and 3 months later, six of the participants were interviewed. Qualitative analysis of interview data identified that two key processes—creating a positive group atmosphere and channeling compassion skills training through the medium of visual arts—led to four positive outcomes for participants: planting the seeds of new understandings, embodying the skills of compassion, strengthening relationships with others, and evolving a more self-compassionate relationship. We suggest that the preliminary results are sufficiently encouraging to warrant further development of ABCST in Indigenous communities. (shrink)
The five ways to God or the so-called proofs of God’s existence according to St. Thomas require the study of numerous conditions of intelligibility. In principle ’Doctor communis’ excludes the possibility of an intuition of God. Thus, the existence of God is not seen as an object of intuition, unlike what exists in our common experience. Hence, the article attempts to specify the meaning of different terms like ’esse, essentia, existentia, esse actus, esse in actu’ and so forth. In conclusion (...) one can say that the ’ways’ of Aquinas do not share the destiny of so-called onto-theological proofs of the existence of God. (shrink)
Misericordia significa “un corazón que es sensible a la miseria de los otros”. Esta definición pone de manifiesto la síntesis de actividad y pasividad ambivalente que caracteriza la relación entre el misericordioso y el mísero, al tiempo que, desde un punto de vista fenomenológico trae consigo interesantes consideraciones sobre del perdón o de la simpatía. No obstante, querer superar los límites de estas dos realidades, hasta el punto de ponerse frente a la empatía, significa abandonar la perspectiva filosófica y adentrarse (...) en la entraña del Evangelio, esto es, en el misterio de la Encarnación del Hijo de Dios. (shrink)