Compassion in philosophy and education

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Compassion isn't always highly regarded, and sometimes it is denigrated in Western philosophy and in everyday life. It is also unclear how we can focus on compassion in the traditional classroom, given the emphasis on collective learning outcomes, and the assessment of objective goals. This paper focuses on the philosophical discussion of compassion by such thinkers as Seneca, Rousseau, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and the Dalai Lama. I show how Western philosophers have often viewed compassion with suspicion or disdain. I evaluate the main arguments offered by the critics of compassion, and I consider some non-Western perspectives which affirm the positive value of a compassionate life. Finally, I consider the general issue of compassion in education, and I argue for the recovery of compassion. I believe we must return to the intimacy of the student-teacher relationship which focuses on the uniqueness of the student, her background, her strengths and her needs. And this means that we must learn to cultivate compassion as the basis of our responsiveness and caring for others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Pedagogy of Compassion at the Heart of Higher Education
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9783319577838
ISBN (Print)9783319577821
StatePublished - Jul 10 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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