chapter  II
3 Pages

II.10 Fellow-feeling


Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) tells us that ‘Griefe, for the Calamity of another, is PITTY; and ariseth from the imagination that the like calamity may befall himselfe, and therefore is called also COMPASSION, and in the phrase of this present-time a FELLOW-FEELING’.1 Hobbes clearly sees these three terms – pity, compassion, fellow-feeling – as synonymous, where we today tend to distinguish between pity (sometimes implying a hierarchical relationship) and compassion (a more com - panionable sharing of suffering). Yet for some early modern writers, these terms were importantly differentiated or supplemented by others – such as sympathy – and made room for various imaginings of ethical and political communities.