Authored by: Nancy Eisenberg , Tracy L. Spinrad , Zoe E. Taylor

The Handbook of Virtue Ethics

Print publication date:  November  2013
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9781844656394
eBook ISBN: 9781315729053
Adobe ISBN: 9781317544777


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Sympathy is a virtue marked by what we call “empathy-related responding”. Some philosophers (e.g. Blum 1980) and psychologists (e.g. Batson 1991; Hoffman 2000; Eisenberg et al. 2006) have argued that empathy-related responding is the basis of much virtuous behaviour, especially prosocial behaviour (voluntary behaviour intended to benefit another). In this chapter, we discuss definitions of empathy-related responding, its role in virtue, moral development and social competence, and the development and origins of empathy-related responding.

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