By Davidson, R.J.
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Additional resources for Cognitive Neuroscience
Sensitivity is manly; for the man who wants to spare his wife or children difficulties or pain must possess such delicate feeling as is necessary in order to judge their sensation not by his own strength but rather by their weakness, and delicacy of his sensation is necessary for generosity. On the other hand, the ineffectual sharing of one’s feelings in order to appear sympathetically in tune with the feelings of others, thus allowing oneself to be affected in a merely passive way, is silly and childish.
MS 6:394; cf. 445) Impulses of nature, accordingly, involve obstacles within man’s mind to his fulfillment of duty and (sometimes powerful) forces opposing it ... Now the capacity and considered resolve to withstand a strong but unjust opponent is fortitude (fortitudo), and fortitude and, with respect to what opposes the moral disposition in us, virtue (virtus, fortitudo moralis) (MS 6:379). 6 An alternative reading is simply that a good will is most conspicuous in its struggle against inclination.
For a start, there is the familiar faute de mieux claim. This is an eliminative-instrumentalist claim. According to it, the cultivation and appropriate expression of certain sorts of emotions constitute a kind of morality, but a provisional, faute de mieux claim. It is a morality of an inferior sort, a children’s morality that will eventually be replaced in the progress of the individual. It is merely a stage along the way in a developmental process. As Kant remarks in the Anthropology, ‘the wisdom of nature has planted in us the predisposition to compassion in order to handle the reins provisionally, until reason has achieved the necessary strength’ (A 7:253).