Since the classical era, western moral philosophy has emphasised reason as the human faculty through which what is ‘good’ is known and from which ‘right’ actions follow. Reason thus became the foremost faculty to guide ethics, emphasising impartiality as a key value (Blum, 1994; Pizarro, 2000). The opposite of reason, in this view of human experience, is emotion. From the classical Greek philosophers, through medieval Europe, to the post-Enlightenment modernists, emotion has been widely regarded as insufficient to form any solid ground for a reliable ethics, whether as a philosophy or as a practice. Emotions, from this perspective, are unreliable and unruly, irrational precisely because they are subjective and particular.
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- The Intelligence of Emotions and the Ethics of Compassion
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- Chapter 4