Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation

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Harvard University Press, 2006 - Philosophy - 187 pages
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Shortly before he died, Plenty Coups, the last great Chief of the Crow Nation, told his story‚e"up to a certain point. ‚eoeWhen the buffalo went away the hearts of my people fell to the ground,‚e he said, ‚eoeand they could not lift them up again. After this nothing happened.‚e It is precisely this point‚e"that of a people faced with the end of their way of life‚e"that prompts the philosophical and ethical inquiry pursued in Radical Hope. In Jonathan Lear‚e(tm)s view, Plenty Coups‚e(tm)s story raises a profound ethical question that transcends his time and challenges us all: how should one face the possibility that one‚e(tm)s culture might collapse?This is a vulnerability that affects us all‚e"insofar as we are all inhabitants of a civilization, and civilizations are themselves vulnerable to historical forces. How should we live with this vulnerability? Can we make any sense of facing up to such a challenge courageously? Using the available anthropology and history of the Indian tribes during their confinement to reservations, and drawing on philosophy and psychoanalytic theory, Lear explores the story of the Crow Nation at an impasse as it bears upon these questions‚e"and these questions as they bear upon our own place in the world. His book is a deeply revealing, and deeply moving, philosophical inquiry into a peculiar vulnerability that goes to the heart of the human condition.
 

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Radical hope: ethics in the face of cultural devastation

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In this very engaging book, Lear (philosophy, Univ. of Chicago) examines the cultural collapse of the tribe of Native Americans known as the Crow Nation. He describes his analysis as a form of ... Read full review

Contents

AFTER THIS NOTHING HAPPENED
1
Protecting a Way of Life
10
Gambling with Necessity
21
Was There a Last Coup?
26
Witness to Death
34
Subject to Death
42
The Possibility of Crow Poetry
50
ETHICS AT THE HORIZON
55
Radical Hope
91
CRITIQUE OF ABYSMAL REASONING
103
Aristotles Method
108
Radical Hope versus Mere Optimism
113
Courage and Hope
118
Virtue and Imagination
124
Historical Vindication
136
Personal Vindication
142

Reasoning at the Abyss
56
A Problem for Moral Psychology
62
The Interpretation of Dreams
66
Crow Anxiety
73
The Virtue of the Chickadee
80
The Transformation of Psychological Structure
82
Response to Sitting Bull
148
Notes
157
Acknowledgments
179
Index
181
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About the author (2006)

Considered one of the most independent and perceptive analysts of contemporary intellectual culture, Jonathan Lear has authored several thought-provoking works including Aristotle and Logical Theory; Aristotle: The Desire to Understand; Love and Its Place In Nature; A Philosophical Interpretation of Freudian Psychoanalysis; and Open Minded, among others. He is a member of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago and has been recognized as John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor.

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