Chapter

Justice as Compassion

Mona Sue Weissmark

in Justice Matters

Published in print June 2004 | ISBN: 9780195157574
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199848485 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157574.003.0006
Justice as Compassion

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This chapter explores the degree to which compassion is rooted in people's sense of justice. The Harvard conference discussed in this book allowed the participants to confront their ability to understand each other's suffering, to share their stories, and to offer compassion. It is supposed to be a gradual process of interconnection and empathy that can be distinguished through its progressive stages: generalizing, revealing, distinguishing, discussing here and now, sharing hurt, and transformation. Compassion is an emotion that involves the regard to another's well-being, motivating people to behave in constructive and humane ways, inhibiting relationship-destructive responses such as vengeance, anger, and resentment. Despite past injustices and tendencies towards vengeance and one-sided views, when people experience compassion for another, there is a transformation of feelings and attitudes that can establish a new relationship.

Keywords: compassion; relationship-destructive responses; one-sided views; attitudes; vengeance

Chapter.  16962 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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