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A Theory of Feelings Anger and Forgiveness Philosophizing Madness from Nietzsche to Derrida"My Madness Saved Me"10 Good Questions about Life and Death12 Modern Philosophers50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a GodA Cabinet of Philosophical CuriositiesA Case for IronyA Companion to BioethicsA Companion to Buddhist PhilosophyA Companion to FoucaultA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to HumeA Companion to KantA Companion to Phenomenology and ExistentialismA Companion to PragmatismA Companion to the Philosophy of ActionA Companion to the Philosophy of BiologyA Companion to the Philosophy of LiteratureA Conceptual History of PsychologyA Critical Overview of Biological FunctionsA Critique of Naturalistic Philosophies of MindA Cursing Brain?A Delicate BalanceA Farewell to AlmsA Fragile LifeA Frightening LoveA Future for PresentismA Guide to the Good LifeA History of PsychiatryA History of the MindA Life Worth LivingA Manual of Experimental PhilosophyA Map of the MindA Metaphysics of PsychopathologyA Mind So RareA Minimal LibertarianismA Natural History of Human MoralityA Natural History of Human ThinkingA Natural History of VisionA Parliament of MindsA Philosopher Looks at The Sense of HumorA Philosophical DiseaseA Philosophy for the Science of Well-BeingA Philosophy of BoredomA Philosophy of Cinematic ArtA Philosophy of CultureA Philosophy of EmptinessA Philosophy of FearA Philosophy of PainA Physicalist ManifestoA Place for ConsciousnessA Question of TrustA Research Agenda for DSM-VA Revolution of the MindA Sentimentalist Theory of the MindA Stroll With William JamesA Tapestry of ValuesA Tear is an Intellectual ThingA Theory of FreedomA Thousand MachinesA Universe of ConsciousnessA Very Bad WizardA Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the CurtainA Virtue EpistemologyA World Full of GodsA World Without ValuesAbout FaceAbout the Beginning of the Hermeneutics of the SelfAction and ResponsibilityAction in ContextAction Theory, Rationality and CompulsionAction, Contemplation, and HappinessAction, Emotion and WillAdam SmithAdaptive DynamicsAddictionAddictionAddiction and ResponsibilityAddiction and Self-ControlAddiction Is a ChoiceAdvances in Identity Theory and ResearchAftermathAfterwarAgainst AdaptationAgainst AutonomyAgainst BioethicsAgainst HappinessAgainst HealthAgainst MarriageAgency and ActionAgency and AnswerabilityAgency and EmbodimentAgency and ResponsibilityAgency, Freedom, and Moral ResponsibilityAl-JununAlain BadiouAlain BadiouAlasdair MacIntyreAlien Landscapes?Altered EgosAmbivalenceAn Anthology of Psychiatric EthicsAn Ethics for TodayAn Intellectual History of CannibalismAn Interpretation of DesireAn Introduction to EthicsAn Introduction to Kant's Moral Philosophy An Introduction to Philosophy of EducationAn Introduction to the Philosophy of MindAn Introduction to the Philosophy of MindAn Introduction to the Philosophy of PsychologyAn Introductory Philosophy of MedicineAn Odd Kind of FameAnalytic FreudAnalytic Philosophy in AmericaAncient AngerAncient Models of MindAncient Philosophy of the SelfAngerAnimal LessonsAnimal MindsAnimals Like UsAnnihilationAnother PlanetAnswers for AristotleAnti-ExternalismAnti-Individualism and KnowledgeAntigone’s ClaimAntipsychiatryAre We Hardwired?Are Women Human?Arguing about DisabilityArguing About Human NatureAristotle and the Philosophy of FriendshipAristotle on Practical WisdomAristotle's ChildrenAristotle's Ethics and Moral ResponsibilityAristotle, Emotions, and EducationArt & MoralityArt After Conceptual ArtArt in Three DimensionsArt, Self and KnowledgeArtificial ConsciousnessArtificial HappinessAspects of PsychologismAsylum to ActionAt the Existentialist CaféAtonement and ForgivenessAttention is Cognitive UnisonAutobiography as PhilosophyAutonomyAutonomy and Mental DisorderAutonomy and the Challenges to LiberalismBabies by DesignBackslidingBadiouBadiou's DeleuzeBadiou, Balibar, Ranciere: Rethinking EmancipationBare Facts And Naked TruthsBasic Desert, Reactive Attitudes and Free WillBattlestar Galactica and PhilosophyBe Like the FoxBeautyBecoming a SubjectBecoming HumanBefore ConsciousnessBehavingBehavioral Genetics in the Postgenomic EraBeing AmoralBeing HumanBeing Mentally Ill: A Sociological Theory Being No OneBeing Realistic about ReasonsBeing ReducedBeing YourselfBelief's Own EthicsBending Over BackwardsBerlin Childhood around 1900Bernard WilliamsBertrand RussellBest ExplanationsBetter than BothBetter Than WellBetween Two WorldsBeyond HealthBeyond Hegel and NietzscheBeyond KuhnBeyond LossBeyond MelancholyBeyond Moral JudgmentBeyond PostmodernismBeyond ReductionBeyond SchizophreniaBeyond the DSM StoryBioethicsBioethics and the BrainBioethics in the ClinicBiological Complexity and Integrative PluralismBiology Is TechnologyBiosBipolar ExpeditionsBlackwell Companion to the Philosophy of EducationBlindsight & The Nature of ConsciousnessBlues - Philosophy for EveryoneBlushBob Dylan and PhilosophyBody ConsciousnessBody Image And Body SchemaBody ImagesBody LanguageBody MattersBody WorkBody-Subjects and Disordered MindsBoundBoundaries of the MindBoyleBrain Evolution and CognitionBrain FictionBrain, Mind, and Human Behavior in Contemporary Cognitive ScienceBrain-WiseBrainchildrenBrains, Buddhas, and BelievingBrainstormingBrave New WorldsBreakdown of WillBrief Child Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and FaithBrief Therapy Homework PlannerBritain on the CouchBritish Idealism and the Concept of the SelfBrute RationalityBuffy the Vampire Slayer and PhilosophyBut Is It Art?Camus and SartreCartesian LinguisticsCartographies of the MindCarving Nature at Its JointsCase Studies in Biomedical Research EthicsCassandra's DaughterCato's TearsCausation and CounterfactualsCauses, Laws, and Free WillChanging Conceptions of the Child from the Renaissance to Post-ModernityChanging the SubjectChaosophyCharacter and Moral Psychology Character as Moral FictionCharles DarwinCherishmentChildhood and the Philosophy of EducationChildrenChildren, Families, and Health Care Decision MakingChoices and ConflictChoosing Not to ChooseChristmas - Philosophy for EveryoneCinema, Philosophy, BergmanCinematic MythmakingCity and Soul in Plato's RepublicClassifying MadnessClear and Queer ThinkingClinical EthicsClinical Psychiatry in Imperial GermanyCodependent ForevermoreCoffee - Philosophy for EveryoneCognition and the BrainCognition of Value in Aristotle's EthicsCognition Through Understanding: Self-Knowledge, Interlocution, Reasoning, ReflectionCognitive BiologyCognitive FictionsCognitive Neuroscience of EmotionCognitive Systems and the Extended MindCognitive Systems and the Extended Mind Cognitive Theories of Mental IllnessCoherence in Thought and ActionCollected Papers, Volume 1Collected Papers, Volume 2College SexComedy IncarnateCommitmentCommunicative Action and Rational ChoiceCompetence, Condemnation, and CommitmentConcealment And ExposureConcepts and Causes in the Philosophy of DiseaseConceptual Analysis and Philosophical NaturalismConceptual Art and PaintingConceptual Issues in Evolutionary BiologyConfessionsConfucianismConnected, or What It Means to Live in the Network SocietyConquest of AbundanceConscience and ConvenienceConsciousnessConsciousnessConsciousnessConsciousness ConsciousnessConsciousness and Its Place in NatureConsciousness and LanguageConsciousness and Mental LifeConsciousness and MindConsciousness and the NovelConsciousness and the SelfConsciousness EmergingConsciousness EvolvingConsciousness ExplainedConsciousness in ActionConsciousness RecoveredConsciousness RevisitedConsciousness, Color, and ContentConsole and ClassifyConstructing the WorldConstructive AnalysisContemporary Debates In Applied EthicsContemporary Debates in Moral TheoryContemporary Debates in Philosophy of BiologyContemporary Debates in Philosophy of MindContemporary Debates in Political PhilosophyContemporary Debates in Social PhilosophyContemporary Perspectives on Natural LawContested Knowledge: Social Theory TodayContesting PsychiatryContext and the AttitudesContinental Philosophy of ScienceControlControlling Our DestiniesConversations About Psychology and Sexual OrientationCopernicus, Darwin and FreudCrazy for YouCreating a Life of Meaning and CompassionCreating ConsilienceCreating HysteriaCreating Mental IllnessCreating Scientific ConceptsCreating the American JunkieCreation, Rationality and AutonomyCreatures Like Us?Crime and CulpabilityCrime, Punishment, and Mental IllnessCrimes of ReasonCritical New Perspectives on Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderCritical PsychiatryCritical PsychologyCritical ResistanceCritical Thinking About PsychologyCritical VisionsCross and KhoraCruel CompassionCTRL [SPACE]Cultural Psychology of the SelfCultural Theory: An IntroductionCulture and Psychiatric DiagnosisCulture and Subjective Well-BeingCulture of DeathCultures of NeurastheniaCurious EmotionsCurrent Controversies in Experimental PhilosophyCurrent Controversies in Values and ScienceCustom and Reason in HumeCustomers and Patrons of the Mad-TradeCutting God in Half - And Putting the Pieces Together AgainCylons in AmericaDamaged IdentitiesDamasio's Error and Descartes' TruthDangerous EmotionsDaniel DennettDaniel DennettDark AgesDarwin and DesignDarwin's Dangerous IdeaDarwin's LegacyDarwin, God and the Meaning of LifeDarwinian PsychiatryDarwinian ReductionismDarwinizing CultureDating: Philosophy for EveryoneDeathDeathDeath and CharacterDeath and CompassionDeath and the AfterlifeDebating DesignDebating HumanismDecision Making, Personhood and DementiaDecomposing the WillDeconstructing PsychotherapyDeconstruction and DemocracyDeeper Than DarwinDeeper than ReasonDefending Science - within ReasonDefining Psychopathology in the 21st CenturyDegrees of BeliefDeleuze and the Concepts of CinemaDelusion and Self-DeceptionDelusions and Other Irrational BeliefsDelusions and the Madness of the MassesDementiaDemons, Dreamers, and MadmenDennett and Ricoeur on the Narrative SelfDennett’s PhilosophyDepression Is a ChoiceDepression, Emotion and the SelfDepthDerrida, Deleuze, PsychoanalysisDescartesDescartes and the Passionate MindDescartes' CogitoDescartes's Changing MindDescartes's Concept of MindDescribing Inner Experience?Descriptions and PrescriptionsDesembodied Spirits and Deanimated Bodies Desert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974)Desire and AffectDesire, Love, and IdentityDesire, Practical Reason, and the GoodDeveloping the VirtuesDiagnosing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental DisordersDialectics of the SelfDid My Neurons Make Me Do It?Difference and IdentityDigital SoulDimensional Models of Personality DisordersDisability, Difference, DiscriminationDisjunctivismDisorders of VolitionDisorientation and Moral LifeDispatches from the Freud WarsDisrupted LivesDistractionDisturbed ConsciousnessDivided Minds and Successive SelvesDo Apes Read Minds?Do Fish Feel Pain?Do We Still Need Doctors?Does Consciousness Cause Behavior?Does the Woman Exist?Doing without ConceptsDon't be FooledDon't Believe Everything You ThinkDonald DavidsonDonald Davidson on Truth, Meaning, and the MentalDoubting Darwin?Down GirlDreaming and Other Involuntary MentationDSM-IV SourcebookDSM-IV SourcebookDSM-IV-TR CasebookDworkin and His CriticsDying to KnowDynamics in ActionDysthymia and the Spectrum of Chronic DepressionsEccentricsEducational MetamorphosesEffective IntentionsElbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth WantingEmbodied Minds in ActionEmbodied RhetoricsEmbodied Selves and Divided MindsEmbryos under the MicroscopeEmergencies in Mental Health PracticeEmerging Conceptual, Ethical and Policy Issues in BionanotechnologyEmotionEmotion and ConsciousnessEmotion and PsycheEmotion ExperienceEmotion RegulationEmotion, Evolution, And RationalityEmotional IntelligenceEmotional ReasonEmotional ReasonEmotional TruthEmotions in Humans and ArtifactsEmotions in the Moral LifeEmotions in the Moral LifeEmotions, Value, and AgencyEmpathyEmpathy and AgencyEmpathy and Moral DevelopmentEmpathy and MoralityEmpathy in the Context of PhilosophyEmpirical Ethics in PsychiatryEnactivist InterventionsEnchanted LoomsEngaging BuddhismEngineering the Human GermlineEnjoymentEnvyEpicureanismEpistemic LuckEpistemologyEpistemology and EmotionsEpistemology and the Psychology of Human JudgmentEros and the GoodErotic MoralityEssays in Social NeuroscienceEssays in the Metaphysics of Mind Essays on Derek Parfit's On What MattersEssays on Free Will and Moral ResponsibilityEssays on Nonconceptual ContentEssays on Philosophical CounselingEssays on Reference, Language, and MindEssays on the Concept of Mind in Early-Modern PhilosophyEssential Sources in the Scientific Study of ConsciousnessEsssential Philosophy of PsychiatryEternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindEthical Conflicts in PsychologyEthical Issues in Forensic Mental Health ResearchEthical Issues in Human CloningEthical TheoryEthicsEthicsEthics and the A PrioriEthics and the Metaphysics of MedicineEthics and Values in PsychotherapyEthics Done RightEthics ExpertiseEthics in Plain EnglishEthics in PracticeEthics in Psychiatric ResearchEthics of PsychiatryEthics without OntologyEuropean Review of Philosophy. Vol. 5Everyday IrrationalityEvil in Modern ThoughtEvolutionEvolution and the Human MindEvolution's RainbowEvolutionary Origins of MoralityEvolutionary PsychologyExamined LifeExamined LivesExistential AmericaExistentialismExistentialism and Romantic LoveExperimental PhilosophyExperimental PhilosophyExperimental PhilosophyExperimental Philosophy, Rationalism, and NaturalismExperiments in EthicsExplaining ConsciousnessExplaining the BrainExplaining the Computational MindExplanatory PluralismExploding the Gene MythExploring HappinessExploring the SelfExpression and the InnerExpressions of JudgmentExtraordinary Science and PsychiatryFaces of IntentionFact and ValueFact and Value in EmotionFacts and ValuesFacts, Values, and NormsFads and Fallacies in the Social SciencesFaith and Wisdom in ScienceFatherhoodFear of KnowledgeFearless SpeechFeeling Pain and Being in PainFeelings and EmotionsFeelings of BeingFellow-Feeling and the Moral LifeFeminism and Its DiscontentsFeminism and Philosophy of ScienceFeminist Ethics and Social and Political PhilosophyFeminist Interpretations of Rene DescartesFeminist TheoryField Notes from ElsewhereFinding Consciousness in the BrainFingerprints of GodFlesh in the Age of ReasonFolk Psychological NarrativesFolk Psychology Re-AssessedForces of HabitForgivenessForgiveness and LoveForgiveness and RetributionFoucault 2.0Foucault and PhilosophyFoucault NowFoucault, Psychology and the Analytics of PowerFoundational Issues in Human Brain MappingFoundations of Ethical Practice, Research, and Teaching in PsychologyFour Views on Free WillFrank Ramsey (1903-1930)Free WillFree WillFree WillFree WillFree Will and Action ExplanationFree Will and LuckFree Will And Moral ResponsibilityFree Will as an Open Scientific ProblemFree Will, Agency, and Meaning in LifeFree: Why Science Hasn't Disproved Free WillFreedomFreedom and DeterminismFreedom And NeurobiologyFreedom and ResponsibiltyFreedom and ValueFreedom EvolvesFreedom RegainedFreedom vs. InterventionFreedom, Fame, Lying, and BetrayalFreudFreud and the Question of PseudoscienceFreud As PhilosopherFreud's AnswerFreud, the Reluctant PhilosopherFriedrich NietzscheFrom Chance to ChoiceFrom Clinic to ClassroomFrom Complexity to LifeFrom Enlightenment to ReceptivityFrom Knowledge to Wisdom: A Revolution for Science and the HumanitiesFrom Morality to Mental HealthFrom Passions to EmotionsFrom Philosophy to PsychotherapyFrom Valuing to ValueFrontiers of ConsciousnessFrontiers of JusticeFurnishing the MindGalileo in PittsburghGenderGender and Mental HealthGender in the MirrorGender TroubleGenesGenes, Women, EqualityGenetic Nature/CultureGenetic ProspectsGenetic ProspectsGenetic SecretsGenocide's AftermathGenomes and What to Make of ThemGerman Idealism and the JewGerman PhilosophyGetting HookedGilles DeleuzeGlobal PhilosophyGluttonyGod and Phenomenal ConsciousnessGoffman's LegacyGoing Amiss in Experimental ResearchGoodness & AdviceGrassroots SpiritualityGrave MattersGrave MattersGreedGreek Models of Mind and SelfGut ReactionsHabilitation, Health, and AgencyHabits of MindHallucinationHandbook of BioethicsHandbook of EmotionsHappinessHappinessHappinessHappinessHappiness and EducationHappiness and the Good LifeHappiness Is OverratedHappiness, Death, and the Remainder of LifeHard LuckHarmful ThoughtsHaving the World in ViewHealing PsychiatryHealing the Soul in the Age of the BrainHealth, Illness and DiseaseHealth, Science, and Ordinary LanguageHegelHeidegger and a Metaphysics of FeelingHeidegger, Metaphysics and the Univocity of BeingHermann von Helmholtz's MechanismHermeneutics As PoliticsHeterophobiaHeterosyncraciesHeuristics and BiasesHeuristics and the LawHidden ResourcesHidden SelvesHiding from HumanityHigh Art LiteHistorical OntologyHistory of Psychiatry and Medical PsychologyHistory, Historicity And ScienceHobbesHomosexualitiesHope and Dread in PsychoanalysisHot ThoughtHow Can I Be Trusted?How Can the Human Mind Occur in the Physical Universe?How Children Learn the Meanings of WordsHow Could Conscious Experiences Affect Brains?How Do We Know Who We Are?How Emotions WorkHow Emotions WorkHow History Made the MindHow Images ThinkHow is Nature Possible?How Propaganda WorksHow Science WorksHow Scientific Practices MatterHow Scientists Explain DiseaseHow The Body Shapes The MindHow the Body Shapes the Way We ThinkHow the Mind Explains BehaviorHow the Mind Uses the BrainHow to Be a StoicHow to Make Opportunity EqualHow to Solve the Mind-Body Problemhow to stop timeHow to Think More About SexHow We HopeHow We ReasonHuman CloningHuman Development, Language and the Future of MankindHuman EnhancementHuman Evolution, Reproduction, and MoralityHuman GoodnessHuman Identity and BioethicsHuman NatureHuman NatureHuman Nature and the Limits of ScienceHuman-Built WorldHumanismHumanism, What's That?HumanityHumans, Animals, MachinesHumeHumeHume on Motivation and VirtueHume's True ScepticismHusserlHystoriesI of the VortexI Was WrongIdeas that MatterIdentifying the MindIdentity and Agency in Cultural WorldsIgnorance and ImaginationIllnessImagination and Its PathologiesImagination and the Meaningful BrainImagining NumbersImmortal RemainsImproving Nature?In Defense of an Evolutionary Concept of HealthIn Defense of SentimentalityIn Love With LifeIn Praise of Athletic BeautyIn Praise of DesireIn Praise of Natural PhilosophyIn Praise of the WhipIn Pursuit of HappinessIn Search of HappinessIn the Name of GodIn the Name of IdentityIn the Space of ReasonsIn the SwarmIn Two MindsInclusive EthicsIncompatibilism's AllureIndividual Differences in Conscious ExperienceInfinity and PerspectiveInformation ArtsInformed Consent in Medical ResearchIngmar Bergman, Cinematic PhilosopherInhuman ThoughtsInner PresenceInsanityIntegrating Psychotherapy and PharmacotherapyIntegrity and the Fragile SelfIntelligent VirtueIntentionIntentionality, Deliberation and AutonomyIntentions and IntentionalityIntentions and IntentionalityInterpreting MindsInterpreting NietzscheIntroducing Greek PhilosophyIntrospection and ConsciousnessIntrospection VindicatedIntuition, Imagination, and Philosophical MethodologyIntuitionismInvestigating the Psychological WorldIrrationalityIrrationalityIs Academic Feminism Dead?Is It Me or My Meds?Is Long-Term Therapy Unethical?Is Oedipus Online?Is Science Neurotic?Is Science Value Free?Is the Visual World a Grand Illusion?Is There a Duty to Die?Issues in Philosophical CounselingJacques LacanJacques RancièreJacques RanciereJean-Paul SartreJohn McDowellJohn SearleJohn Searle's Ideas About Social RealityJohn Stuart MillJohn Stuart Mill and the Writing of CharacterJoint AttentionJokesJonathan EdwardsJudging and UnderstandingJustice for ChildrenJustice in RobesJustice, Luck, and KnowledgeKantKant and MiltonKant and the Fate of AutonomyKant and the Limits of AutonomyKant and the Role of Pleasure in Moral ActionKant on Freedom, Law, and HappinessKant on Moral AutonomyKant's Anatomy of EvilKant's Anatomy of the Intelligent MindKant's Theory of VirtueKarl JaspersKarl PopperKarl Popper, Science and EnlightenmentKey Concepts in PhilosophyKierkegaardKierkegaard as PhenomenologistKierkegaard's Concept of DespairKierkegaard's MuseKinds of MindsKinds, Things, and StuffKnowing, Knowledge and BeliefsKnowledge MonopoliesKnowledge, Belief, and CharacterKnowledge, Possibility, and ConsciousnessLacanLack of CharacterLack of CharacterLanguageLanguage in ContextLanguage, Consciousness, CultureLanguage, Culture, and MindLanguage, Vision, and MusicLaw and the BrainLaw, Liberty, and PsychiatryLaws, Mind, and Free WillLeaving YouLectures on the History of Political PhilosophyLevelling the Playing FieldLiberal Education in a Knowledge SocietyLiberatory PsychiatryLife and ActionLife at the Texas State Lunatic Asylum, 1857-1997Life Is Not a Game of PerfectLife of the MindLife's FormLife, Death, & MeaningLife, Death, and Meaning: Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of UtilityLife, Sex, and IdeasLight in the Dark RoomLike a Splinter in Your MindLiving and Dying WellLiving NarrativeLiving Outside Mental IllnessLiving with DarwinLiving With One’s PastLockeLocke LockeLogic and the Art of Memory Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and LiteratureLooking for SpinozaLooking for The StrangerLost SoulsLOT 2LoveLoveLove's ConfusionsLove's VisionLove, Friendship, and the SelfLove, Sex & TragedyLuckyLudwig WittgensteinLustLyingMachine ConsciousnessMad for FoucaultMad TravelersMade with WordsMadness And Death In PhilosophyMadness and DemocracyMadness at HomeMadness Is CivilizationMaking Natural KnowledgeMaking Sense of EvolutionMaking Sense of Freedom and ResponsibilityMaking the DSM-5Making the Social WorldMaking TruthMale Female EmailMan, Beast, and ZombieMandated Reporting of Suspected Child AbuseManiaManic Depression and CreativityMapping the Edges and the In-betweenMapping the Future of BiologyMarcus AureliusMaster PassionsMatters of the MindMe++Meaning and Moral OrderMeaning and Value in a Secular AgeMeaning in LifeMeaning in Life and Why It MattersMeaning, Basic Self-Knowledge, and MindMeanings of ArtMeasuring HappinessMeasuring PsychopathologyMedia MadnessMedical Enhancement and PosthumanityMedical NihilismMedicine and Philosophy in Classical AntiquityMedicine of the PersonMedicine, Mental Health, Religion, Science and Well-BeingMeditations on Self-Discipline and FailureMelancholy And the Care of the SoulMelancholy and the Otherness of GodMementoMemory and NarrativeMental ActionsMental CausationMental Causation and OntologyMental HealthMental Health At The CrossroadsMental Health Policy in BritainMerit, Meaning, and Human BondageMerleau-PontyMerleau-Ponty and the Possibilities of PhilosophyMetacognition and Theory of MindMetacreationMetaethical SubjectivismMetaethicsMetal and FleshMetaphors of MemoryMetapoliticsMethods in MindMichel FoucaultMidlifeMill's UtilitarianismMindMindMindMind and ConsciousnessMind and CosmosMind and MechanismMind GamesMind in a Physical WorldMind in Everyday Life and Cognitive ScienceMind in LifeMind TimeMind's LandscapeMind, Brain and the Elusive SoulMind, Brain, and Free WillMind, Reason and ImaginationMinding MindsMindreadersMindreading AnimalsMinds and PersonsMinds, Brains, and LawMinds, Ethics, and ConditionalsMindshapingMindsightMindworldsMirror, MirrorMixed FeelingsMockingbird YearsModels of the SelfModern Social ImaginariesModern Theories of JusticeModernity and SubjectivityModernity and TechnologyMoody Minds DistemperedMoral BrainsMoral DimensionsMoral FailureMoral ImaginationMoral LiteracyMoral MachinesMoral ParticularismMoral PsychologyMoral Psychology and Human AgencyMoral Psychology, Volume 1Moral Psychology, Volume 2Moral Psychology, Volume 3Moral Psychology: Volume IVMoral RepairMoral Responsibility and Alternative PossibilitiesMoral TribesMoral Value and Human DiversityMorality and Self-InterestMorality in a Natural WorldMorality, Moral Luck and ResponsibilityMotherhoodMotive and RightnessMoving Beyond Prozac, DSM, and the New PsychiatryMultiple Analogies in Science and PhilosophyMultiple Identities & False MemoriesMusic, Madness, and the Unworking of LanguageMy Brain Made Me Do ItMy Double UnveiledMy WayNarrativeNarrative and IdentityNarrative MedicineNarrative PsychiatryNarrative Theory and the Cognitive SciencesNatural Ethical FactsNatural Kinds and Conceptual ChangeNatural MindsNatural-Born CybogsNaturalism and the First-Person PerspectiveNaturalism and the Human ConditionNaturalism in the Philosophy of HealthNaturalism in the Philosophy of HealthNaturalized BioethicsNaturalizing the MindNatureNature and NarrativeNear Death ExperienceNeither Bad nor MadNeither Victim nor SurvivorNeuro-Philosophy and the Healthy MindNeuroethicsNeuroethicsNeuroexistentialismNeurological Foundations of Cognitive Neuroscience Neurophilosophy at WorkNeurophilosophy of Free WillNeuropoliticsNeuropsychoanalysis in PracticeNeuroscience and PhilosophyNew Essays on the Explanation of ActionNew Philosophy for a New MediaNew Versions of VictimsNew Waves in Philosophy of ActionNietzscheNietzsche and Buddhist PhilosophyNietzsche on Ethics and PoliticsNietzsche's TherapyNietzsche, Culture and EducationNietzsche: The Man and His PhilosophyNihil UnboundNoir AnxietyNormative EthicsNormativityNorms of NatureNotebooks 1951-1959Notes Toward a Performative Theory of AssemblyNothing So AbsurdOblivionOn AnxietyOn ApologyOn Being AuthenticOn Being AuthenticOn BeliefOn BetrayalOn BullshitOn DelusionOn DesireOn EmotionsOn HashishOn Human NatureOn Human RightsOn Loving Our EnemiesOn Nature and LanguageOn PersonalityOn ReflectionOn Romantic LoveOn the EmotionsOn the Freud WatchOn the Government of the LivingOn the Human ConditionOn the InternetOn the Meaning of LifeOn the Philosophy of LawOn the Pragmatics of CommunicationOn the Punitive SocietyOn TruthOn Virtue EthicsOn What MattersOn What We Owe to Each OtherOne Hundred DaysOnflowOnly a Promise of HappinessOntology of ConsciousnessOpen MindedOpen Your EyesOrgans without BodiesOther MindsOur Last Great IllusionOur Own MindsOur Posthuman FutureOur StoriesOut of Its MindOut of Our HeadsOxford Guide to the MindOxford Handbook of Psychiatric EthicsOxford Studies in Normative EthicsOxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 7Oxford Textbook of Philosophy of PsychiatryPanic DisorderPanpsychismPanpsychism in the WestPartialityPassionate EnginesPassionate EnginesPathologies of BeliefPathologies of ReasonPatient Autonomy and the Ethics of ResponsibilityPC, M.D.Perceiving the WorldPerception & CognitionPerception and Basic BeliefsPerception, Hallucination, and IllusionPerceptual ExperiencePerfecting VirtuePerplexities of ConsciousnessPersistencePersonal AutonomyPersonal Autonomy in SocietyPersonal IdentityPersonal Identity and EthicsPersonal Identity and Fractured SelvesPersonhood and Health CarePersonsPersons and BodiesPersons, Humanity, and the Definition of DeathPersons, Souls and DeathPerspectives on ImitationPerspectives on PragmatismPessimismPhenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal KnowledgePhenomenal ConsciousnessPhenomenal IntentionalityPhenomenology and ExistentialismPhenomenology and Philosophy of MindPhenomenology of IllnessPhilosophersPhilosophers on MusicPhilosophers without GodsPhilosophical CounselingPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPhilosophical DevicesPhilosophical Foundations of NeurosciencePhilosophical History and the Problem of ConsciousnessPhilosophical Issues in PharmaceuticsPhilosophical Issues in PsychiatryPhilosophical Issues in PsychiatryPhilosophical Issues in Psychiatry IIPhilosophical MethodologyPhilosophical MidwiferyPhilosophical Myths of the FallPhilosophical Perspectives on DepictionPhilosophical Perspectives on Technology and PsychiatryPhilosophical PracticePhilosophical Reflections on DisabilityPhilosophizing About Sex Philosophizing the EverydayPhilosophy and HappinessPhilosophy and LivingPhilosophy and PsychiatryPhilosophy and PsychotherapyPhilosophy and Science FictionPhilosophy and the EmotionsPhilosophy and the EmotionsPhilosophy and the Interpretation of Pop CulturePhilosophy and the Moving ImagePhilosophy and the NeurosciencesPhilosophy and This Actual WorldPhilosophy As FictionPhilosophy BitesPhilosophy Bites BackPhilosophy for Counselling and PsychotherapyPhilosophy for LifePhilosophy in a New CenturyPhilosophy in an Age of SciencePhilosophy in Children's LiteraturePhilosophy in the Roman EmpirePhilosophy of ActionPhilosophy of ActionPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BodyPhilosophy of Film and Motion PicturesPhilosophy of LovePhilosophy of Love, Sex, and MarriagePhilosophy of MedicinePhilosophy of MindPhilosophy of Mind and CognitionPhilosophy of Personal Identity and Multiple PersonalityPhilosophy of PsychologyPhilosophy of Public HealthPhilosophy of SciencePhilosophy of SciencePhilosophy of Technology: The Technological ConditionPhilosophy of the Social SciencesPhilosophy on TapPhilosophy PracticePhilosophy the Day after TomorrowPhilosophy's Role in Counseling and PsychotherapyPhilosophy, Neuroscience and ConsciousnessPhilosophy, Politics, DemocracyPhotography and PhilosophyPhysical RealizationPhysicalism and Its DiscontentsPhysicalism and Mental CausationPhysicalism, or Something Near EnoughPhysician-Assisted DyingPillar of SaltPin-up GrrrlsPlant MindsPlatoPlatoPlato, Not Prozac!Platonic Ethics, Old and NewPluralistic CasuistryPolarities of ExperiencesPolitical EmotionsPopper, Objectivity and the Growth of KnowledgePornPorn StudiesPornography, Sex, and FeminismPortrait of the Psychiatrist as a Young ManPositive NihilismPostcolonial DisordersPostpsychiatryPosttraumatic Stress DisorderPower and the SelfPower SplitPractical Autonomy and BioethicsPractical ConflictsPractical Identity and Narrative AgencyPractical PhilosophyPractical RulesPractical Tortoise RaisingPractically ProfoundPracticing Feminist Ethics in PsychologyPragmatic BioethicsPragmatismPragmatism, Old And NewPraise and BlamePredicative MindsPreferences and Well-BeingPrescriptions for the MindPresocraticsPrimary and Secondary QualitiesPrimates and PhilosophersPrimitive ColorsPrivacyPrivileged AccessProblems in MindProblems of RationalityProzac As a Way of LifeProzac BacklashProzac on the CouchPsyche and SomaPsychiatric Aspects of Justification, Excuse and Mitigation in Anglo-American Criminal Law Psychiatric Cultures ComparedPsychiatric Diagnosis and ClassificationPsychiatric EthicsPsychiatric HegemonyPsychiatric PowerPsychiatric SlaveryPsychiatry and Philosophy of SciencePsychiatry and ReligionPsychiatry as a Human SciencePsychiatry as Cognitive NeurosciencePsychiatry in SocietyPsychiatry in the New MilleniumPsychiatry in the Scientific ImagePsychiatry, Psychoanalysis, And The New Biology Of MindPsycho-Physical Dualism TodayPsychoanalysis and Narrative MedicinePsychoanalysis and the Philosophy of SciencePsychological Concepts and Biological PsychiatryPsychology and PhilosophyPsychology and the Question of AgencyPsychology's Interpretive TurnPsychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human RelationshipsPsychotherapy and ConfidentialityPsychotherapy As PraxisPublic PhilosophyPunishmentPure ImmanencePurple HazePursuing MeaningQuality of Life and Human DifferenceQueer PhilosophyQuestions for FreudQuestions for FreudQuine and Davidson on Language, Thought and RealityRaceRace in Contemporary MedicineRadiant CoolRadical AlterityRadical ExternalismRadical HopeRational and Social AgencyRational CausationRational Choice in an Uncertain WorldRationality + Consciousness = Free WillRationality and FreedomRationality and the Reflective MindRationality in ActionRawls, Dewey, and ConstructivismRe-creating MedicineRe-EmergenceRe-Engineering Philosophy for Limited BeingsReading AutobiographyReading Bernard WilliamsReading SartreReadings in the Philosophy of TechnologyReal MaterialismReal Natures and Familiar ObjectsReal ScienceRealism in ActionReason & EmancipationReason in ActionReason in PhilosophyReason's GriefReasonably ViciousReasoning About Rational AgentsReasoning in Biological DiscoveriesReasons from WithinReasons without RationalismReclaiming CognitionReclaiming the SoulReconceiving SchizophreniaReconstructing Reason and RepresentationReconstructing the Cognitive WorldRecreative MindsRediscovering EmotionRediscovering EmpathyReference and ExistenceReference and the Rational MindReflections on Ethics and ResponsibilityReflections On How We LiveReframing Disease ContextuallyRefusing CareRegulating SexReinventing the SoulRelativism and Human RightsRelativism and the Foundations of PhilosophyRelativism and the Foundations of PhilosophyReliable ReasoningReligion without GodRelying on OthersRemembering HomeResponsibility and PunishmentResponsibility and PunishmentResponsibility from the MarginsRestraining RageRethinking 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1. The Set-Up: A Peculiar Form of Human Vulnerability--Culture's
Jonathan Lear's latest book, Radical
Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation (2006) consists in an
inquiry, properly characterized as a form of philosophical anthropology (7),
into "a peculiar form of vulnerability" (6) that is arguably part of
the human condition.
We seem to acquire it as a result of
the fact that we essentially inhabit a way of life. Humans are by nature
cultural animals: we necessarily inhabit a way of life that is expressed in a
culture. But our way of life --whatever it is-- is vulnerable in various ways.
And we, as participants in that way of life, thereby inherit a vulnerability.
Should that way of life break down, that is our problem (6).
Such vulnerability has to do with
the possibility of losing the core concepts in terms of which we understand
ourselves, the world in which we live, and which give meaning to our lives
individually and collectively, and finding ourselves subsequently confronted
with the radical possibility of 'happenings' breaking down and becoming
meaningless. Lear inquires into this peculiar vulnerability in an effort to "grasp
an extreme possibility of human existence -- in part so that we can grasp the
scope and limits of human possibilities" (9-10).
But since, as he puts it, "the
only satisfactory way to investigate this remarkable human possibility is to
locate it in a textured historical context" (8), Lear undertakes a case-study
of the autobiographical testimony of the last great chief of the Crow nation, Plenty
Coups. He focuses on the dramatic events in the early decades of the 20th
century which deprived his people of their traditional way of life (as
warriors, hunters and nomads) and forced them to move onto a reservation --and
this, despite the fact they were never defeated in battle, nor forcibly removed
from their lands. He draws for this purpose on the historical and
anthropological research available on the Crow as well as on oral histories.
The general problem however that he
deals with has to do with what he calls the "blind spot" of any
culture: the inability to conceive of its own destruction and possible
extinction (83). The kinds of questions that his analysis raises and compels us
to ponder include the following: What should a people do in such a situation --when,
for a number of historical contingent reasons, a traditional way of life comes
to an end? How should one face the possibility that one's culture might
collapse? How should we live with this vulnerability? Can we make any sense of
facing up to such a challenge with "courage"? What conception of "courage"
is required? What would "virtue" or "imaginative excellence"
and "courage" (perhaps an appropriately thinned out concept,
as opposed to a thick one) entail in such a context? Can we still have
hope? What kind of hope? Can a form of "radical hope," as "the
hope for revival and for coming back to life in a form that is not yet
intelligible" (95), constitute a legitimate response? If yes, in what
sense and why?
In effect, he is interested in
exploring the general lessons that can be drawn by members of any culture as
they consider and reflect upon "how a nation comes to life-and-death
decisions at a time of crisis when it can no longer live according to its
founding values" (Coetzee), or "how cultures may seek rescue from
near-death" (Taylor) --and this, even if their culture is apparently still
robust and thriving, and not (yet) even threatened:
2. The Plot--Three Acts, Two Movements: A Catastrophic
Event, the End of All Events, and a Possibly Courageous Response
2.1. A Meditation--"After This, Nothing Happened"
Lear begins (in Part I) by
examining Plenty Coups' enigmatic statement ("After this, nothing
happened") as he is telling his life's story to a white man by the name of
I have not told you half of what
happened when I was young. I can think back and tell you much more of war and
horse-stealing. But when the buffalo went away the hearts of my people fell to
the ground, and they could not lift them up again. After this, nothing
happened. There was little singing anywhere. Besides, you know that part of
my life as well as I do. You saw what happened to us when the buffalo went away
He dissects the context of Plenty
Coups' remark and ponders extensively what he could have meant. He considers some
plausible (psychological and anthropological) interpretations we could give of
such a statement, which readily make sense to us, and which furthermore have
the additional merit of fitting with the principle of charity or humanity
(Davidson, 1984). According to such a principle, we should try to interpret
others as saying something true --guided by our own sense of what is true and of
what they could reasonably believe. However, as Lear shows, it is not here
merely a matter of trauma, depression, or mourning (individual or collective); the
gained plausibility of these interpretations is achieved, in the first case, at
the cost of somehow changing the subject of the claim --from a claim about the
world to one about the state of a psyche, or in the second case, by reading the
remark a kind of shorthand or figure-of-speech for expressing metaphorically
the actual breakdown and end of a way of life. And as such, they are ultimately
inadequate and insufficient for understanding the deeper and darker thought or
insight that it could possibly convey. The interpretations "may well fit
the principle of humanity, but do they fit Plenty Coups' humanity?"
(4). Perhaps we should inquire further into the very conditions which make these
kinds of interpretations possible (8-9).
As suggested above, Lear is not
primarily concerned with what actually happened to the Crow tribe or to any
other group, as he is concerned with "the field of possibilities in which
all human endeavors gain meaning" (7). His work is thus an ethical
inquiry, with an ontological dimension. It deals with the question of how one
should live in relation to a peculiar human possibility. But if we are going to
think about how to live with this possibility (the ethical dimension),
we need to figure out what it is (the ontological dimension). What is
this possibility of things' ceasing to happen? What would it be if it were true
that after a certain point nothing happened?
A philosophical inquiry may naturally
draw on various interpretations and accounts (historical, psychological and
anthropological) of how a traditional culture actually came to an end. But
ultimately, as Lear correctly points out, "what it wants to know is not
about actuality, but about possibility." "If 'things'
ceasing to happen' is a possibility, then it is a possibility we all must
live with --even when our culture is robust and thriving, even if we may never
have to face its becoming actual. It is a possibility that marks us as human.
How should we live with it?" (9) This question (concerned with ought)
belongs properly speaking to a philosophical inquiry, and not to empirical one
(concerned with what is). If this is a human possibility, then what moral
philosophy is interested in is this: How we ought to live with it?
It is here important to keep in
mind a number of crucial distinctions. It is clearly one thing to give an
account of the circumstances under which a way of life actually came to
an end; it is another to give an account of what it would be for it to
end; and it is yet quite another to ask how we ought to live with this
possibility? Lear is quite right in making these distinctions, and pointing to
the ambiguity that exists in the words "a way of life comes to an end."
It is this ambiguity, he claims, that makes it difficult to know what anyone
might mean by saying "after this, nothing happened" (9).
Nevertheless, he goes on to write, "we want to try to understand the
person making such a claim as making as radical a claim as is humanly
possible. And we want to ask, what would it be for such a claim to be true?"
2.2. The Hinge: Central Questions and a Possible Problem
If 'happenings' only have meaning
within a given cultural scheme (e.g., the traditional way of life), then with
the breakdown of cultural scheme one might well expect a similar breakdown of what
has traditionally counted as a 'happening' in the first place. But is it
possible for a cultural scheme with its traditional contents to collapse
and die, and yet endure as a historical entity, with a new conceptual
and moral content, boldly re-constructed and re-interpreted on the basis
of the old and traditional and yet in light the new, and therefore with a
certain (persisting) identity over time? What does it take to make this happen
--so that once again some event can count as a "happening,' and 'happenings'
can once again acquire meaning relative a newly constituted cultural scheme/content?
Lear answers the previous question
positively, and he provides a powerful illustration in answer to the last
question with his case-study of the Crow and Plenty Coups' bold and visionary
effort in leading his people forward against all odds, and beyond
the traditionally accepted yet false alternatives --to fight a war that one
cannot realistically win (or that one is sure to lose) until death or freedom,
or rather freedom in death. And the story he tells us is poignant and deeply
If however the analysis that I am
attributing here to Lear (in the paragraph above) countenances as I am
suggesting something like a scheme/content distinction, it may have to
answer to the strong objections raised against this "third" dogma of
empiricism by Davidson in his well-known paper, "On the Very Idea of a
Conceptual Scheme" (1984). But reasons of space, I cannot discuss this
issue further in the present context. (Cf: Quine's equally well-known paper "Two
Dogmas of Empiricism"].
2.3. "Moral Reasoning at the Abyss": Imaginative
Excellence, Radical Hope, and Courage
In his subsequent discussion of "Ethics
at the Horizon" (Part II) and in his articulation of he aptly calls "A
Critique of Abysmal Reasoning" (Part III), Lear draws more broadly and
creatively on the resources of Philosophy (Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Kierkegaard,
Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Bernard Williams, MacIntyre, etc), Anthropology (Sahlins,
Geertz, etc) and Psychoanalytic Theory (Freud, Winnicott, Lear, etc). He does
so in order to motivate and characterize the relevant notions and concepts for properly
understanding the challenge that Plenty Coups and his people faced, and assessing
the response that he led them to make at such an unprecedented and catastrophic
moment in their history. These notions and concepts include: practical
reason, moral reasoning at the abyss, thin vs. thick moral concepts
(55-65), self, identity and subjectivity (82-100), courage and
hope (118-123), virtue and imagination (124-136). They enable him to
articulate the problem of moral psychology (62-6), and characterize in more
perspicuous terms the structure of the psychological transformation (82-91)
that such a response entailed.
For this purpose, he focuses on the
Crows' thinking and how individual members attempted to live when their values
and lifestyle were being threatened. He examines the role played by 'bravery,' 'courage,'
and 'honor' within the tribe's traditional culture and how these values that
once defined the Crow were tested and undermined when they were forced to
abandon their nomadic, hunter-and-warrior lifestyle, and "lead a life they
did not understand" (56).
He then shows how Plenty Coups,
whose real name means "many achievements." inspired the Crow to use
what Lear describes as the "virtue" of "imaginative excellence"
(117-8). Plenty Coups boldly tried to imagine the kinds of conceptual
resources and ethical values that would be needed or useful to the Crow for making
sense of, and adapting to, their new world and new way of life --even after
their traditional way of life had collapsed. He writes that "Plenty Coups
was able to transform the destruction of a telos into 'a teleological
suspension of the ethical'" (146) --in Kierkegaard's sense of this
expression. He was able in other words to accept the collapse of ethical
life, of the very concepts in terms of which ethical life has
hitherto been understood by somehow summoning a conception or commitment to a
goodness that in fact transcended his current understanding of the good.
According to Lear, Plenty Coups was
able to do this on the basis of traditional resources such as 'dreams-interpretations'
and boldly re-interpreted 'narratives' of past virtues and other ethical
values. He was thus able to undergo a radical psychological transformation and
in so doing, "create a psychological world in which the traditional
virtues of the war eagle and the new virtues of the chickadee
could co-habit. Birds who were not of a feather could nevertheless live
together in facing the challenges of a new world" (81).
The chickadee is a traditional Crow
bird-icon that stands essentially for the virtue of learning from others.
Becoming a chickadee is a virtue --a form of human excellence (80). "He is
least in strength but strongest of mind among his kind. He is willing to work
for wisdom. The Chickadee-person is a good listener. Nothing escapes his ears,
which he has sharpened by constant use. Whenever others are talking together of
their successes and failures, there you will find the Chickadee-person
listening to their words" (70-1, 80). "Part of what it is to acquire
the chickadee virtue is to be able to spot what the 'successes' and the 'wisdom'
of others are--and to learn from them" (81). Chickadee virtue calls for a
new form of courage, yet it draws on the traditional resources of Crow culture
to do so (80). "The only substantive commitment embodied in the chickadee
virtue is that if one listens and learns from others in the right way
--even in radically different circumstances, even with the collapse of one's
world --something good will come of it" (82). "The Chickadee-person
has that special capacity to listen to others and learn from them: 'He is
willing to work for wisdom.' He thus the bird-philosopher --in the sense that
Plato gave that term: he knows that he lacks wisdom, but he yearns for it; and
thus he is led to seek it from others" (90). Finally, "the chickadee
understands that, in a period of cultural onslaught, one not only needs an (ego)
ideal like the chickadee; one also needs to learn new ways to preserve and
transmit it" (145).
It is by following the virtue and wisdom of the chickadee
that Plenty Coups was able to insure the survival of his people and their continued
hold on their lands (134; 146-7).
Through his dream-vision, Plenty Coups
was able to take a valued and honored spiritual force and put it to creative
use in facing up to new challenges. Thus, although [he] was advocating a new
way of life for the Crow, he was drawing upon the past in vibrant ways. And I
think a case can be made that Plenty Coups offered the Crow a traditional
way of going forward (154).
The Crow could then form new subjectivities and a new
identity --even as they no longer could be warriors, hunters, and nomads.
In his undertaking, Plenty Coups
exhibited a form of "genuine courage" (113)--that in Lear's analysis
fits with Aristotle's characterization and method, properly understood-- in
which "radical hope" is in fact a key ingredient (117-123). It is the
hope that something 'good' for the Crow is still possible in the future (94) --even
though the cultural framework in terms of which the notion of 'good' makes
sense is itself being swept aside (91-100). The radical form of hopefulness
embedded in Plenty Coups' vision was that even with the death of the traditional
forms of Crow subjectivity, the Crow can nevertheless survive --and flourish
again (99). It's as if his motto was: "The Crow is dead, long live the
Crow. This is a form of hope that seems to survive the destruction of a way
of life" (96). As paradoxical as this may sound, this is what gave the
Crow the necessary conceptual and moral tools to overcome despair, and lead a
meaningful life anew.
Though it may be incredibly
difficult to hold onto this commitment in the midst of subjective catastrophe,
it is not impossible. And it is at least conceivable that this is just what
Plenty Coups did (96).
Lear concludes his narrative of the Crows' struggle for
continued survival by showing that, unlike Sitting Bull, the last chief of the
Sioux, Plenty Coups was both personally and historically vindicated in his "courageous"
effort to lead his people to accept a third way, that of creative adaptation,
beyond the traditionally accepted alternatives of death or freedom (Coetzee).
His response of "radical hope" against all odds (for revival and
coming back to life in a form that is not yet fully intelligible) was not only
courageous but morally legitimate.
3. The Ending: A Final Assessment and a Couple of Possible
In closing, I can only add my comments
of well-deserved praise to an already long list of similar comments by
illustrious commentators, such as Charles Taylor, Alasdair MacIntyre, and J.M.
Coetzee. Lear's book is not only a masterfully crafted and deeply moving narrative,
but it also offers us a timely philosophical reflection that is highly relevant
to our current condition at this juncture of history. Needless to say, we live
in an age of deep and profound angst that the world itself, as we know
it, is vulnerable and could break down. We only have to think about the
sometimes extremist ways in which the so-called "guardians of cultural-national
purity and integrity" around the world affirm their distinctiveness and
right to exist as such (against what they perceive as a creeping and threatening
cosmopolitanism) in order to get a sense of the anxiety that such affirmations typically
hide. On a more global scale, we are confronted with the threat of global
warming, nuclear conflagration, weapons of mass destruction, the possible
extinction of the "book culture," and even the demise of Western
We live at a time of a heightened
sense that civilizations are themselves vulnerable (to destruction, devastation
and extinction). Events around the world --terrorist attacks, violent social
upheavals, and even natural catastrophes--have left us with an uncanny sense
of menace. We seem to be aware of a shared vulnerability that we cannot
quite name. I suspect that this feeling has provoked the widespread intolerance
that we see around us today --from all points on the political spectrum. It
is as though, without insistence that our outlook is correct, the outlook
itself might collapse. Perhaps if we could give a name to our shared sense
of vulnerability, we could find better ways to live with it (7; my addition in
parentheses; italics added).
Lear may be right when he says that
"if we could give a name to our shared sense of vulnerability, perhaps
we could find better ways to live with it." But, being naturally more
pessimistically inclined, and therefore arguably more realistic, I sincerely doubt
if this will suffice.
Besides, over and beyond the
compelling and brilliant analysis provided by Lear in his defense of, and parti-pris
with, Plenty Coups, one question keeps nagging me, and it stems from what might
be considered to be Sitting Bull's objection to Plenty Coups' 'historical compromise'
and 'selling-off' to the white man (148-154): Can we truly say without further
qualification that Plenty Coups was vindicated both personally and historically
in view of what (we now know) happened to the Crow over the years --since the
collapse of their traditional form of life? And this question naturally invites
other related ones: To what extent are the descendants of the Crow today still
Crow in their way of life, beliefs, values, and practices? Could it be that the
Crow people survived by no longer being Crow in any recognizable and
respectable way? Is the only way to survive as a Crow to be a non-Crow?
Davidson, D. . Inquiries into Truth and
Interpretation. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
© 2007 Nader N. Chokr
Nader N. Chokr, Ph.D.,
Professor of Philosophy & Social Sciences, School of Philosophy and Social
Development, Shandong University, China. firstname.lastname@example.org