another client on a much bigger account. Susan has some experience with this client and has been known to save accounts in similar situations, so she is Doug’s first choice. Carlos is a possibility, but he is not as familiar with the product as Susan. Doug recalls that Susan’s father is in the last stages of his battle with congestive heart failure and he wonders whether it would be fair to ask her to go. He calls her into his office and Susan says that her father would probably want her to go. Satisfied, Doug sends Susan on the trip, but the account is lost anyway. Did Doug do the right thing? We can now answer this question by asking whether Doug was sufficiently caring. What is Care? Care is a basic human capacity to recognize and respond to the needs of others and to moderate our behavior by appeal to the good or harm it might cause to others. Martin Hoffman is a prominent moral psychologist who sees care as growing out of our natural capacity for empathy. i This capacity is evident even in newborns, who cry when they hear another baby cry. Later in their development, children come to be motivated to help whenever they encounter others in distress. Finally, reflection allows us to build on our basic empathic distress at the suffering of
others. We then can generalize beyond our immediate experience of someone’s distress and imagine the distress of someone who is distant from us. In both cases, we feel impelled to help.
i Martin Hoffman, Empathy and Moral Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000
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