This paper tries to suggest a social ethic based on compassion which means “suffering with.” To do this, this paper mainly deals with the social ethic of compassion that Martha C. Nussbaum and Marcus J. Borg develop.
First, we can summarize Nussbaum’s social ethic of compassion as follows:(1) Human beings are vulnerable as well as rational. Because of their vulnerability,human beings need compassion. (2) For us to have compassion on someone, we need some rational and cognitive judgments. For example, when we judge that a person’s suffering is serious, we tends easily to have compassion on that person. (3) The ethic of compassion demands us to cross the sharp lines between us and them.
Next, Borg makes two main points regarding Jesus’s ethic of compassion that the Bible witnesses: (1) Jesus’s ethic of compassion radically shows the logic of inclusiveness which goes toward the socially excluded persons such as tax-collectors,while the Jews of the times sharply excludes those persons. (2) In this regard, Jesus’s ethic of compassion becomes a radical social ethic transforming the society which unjustly excludes the poor, the weak, and so on.
Finally, based on these discussions, this paper suggest three insights for a social ethic of compassion: (1) The social ethic of compassion seeks for the participatory knowledge which makes us to enter into the sufferings of a person and share with them. (2) The social ethic of compassion includes view from below,i.e. view from sufferers. (3) The social ethic of compassion goes to transformative practices struggling against the unjust situations which cause the sufferings of the poor, the weak, and so on.