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Author: Susan A. Stark1
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  • 1 Bates College
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Abstract

This commentary raises questions about the moral value of feeling pity. Whereas Professor Arenson asks whether an Epicurean hedonist can rightly feel pity given that feeling pity may be unpleasant, I ask whether feeling pity may be morally problematic for other reasons. In particular, I argue that feeling pity involves an endorsement of a morally problematic hierarchy between pitier and pitied. Because of this, I believe that we should draw a little-made distinction between compassion and pity and that individuals should cultivate compassion rather than pity. I suggest one possible way to draw the distinction between compassion and pity.

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