Lear, Jonathan – Radical Hope

  • after this, nothing happened. By the proposition “after this, nothing happened”, proposition used extensively in the first chapter of his book, Lear seems to have in mind the idea that a traditional form of life ended and another form of life, a new one, started at a certain point of no return. So, from the three main influences acknowledged more or less by Lear – Aristotle, Freud and Heidegger – this proposition, by my interpretation, could be a small part of the Heidegger’s “horizon” understood either way (as representation, as perspective or as point of view)
  • dreams. The second chapter of the book, entitled “Ethics at the horizon”, is about a dream (the dream of Plenty Coup – the last great chief of Crow) and its interpretation. Similar to Freud, the Crow Native Americans believed that “dreams were responses” (p. 67) and their meaning “were often not transparent” (p. 68). However, in contrast to Freud, the Crows believed the dreams “predict the future” (so, they didn’t explain the past) and they are the response of a community to a meaningful world (and they are not, in fact, an individual response to his/ her meaningless life). In short, Lear tries to present the dream of Plenty Coup for three positions, along a continuum with two horns (Crow Native Americans/ Freud): 1) for Crow believers, 2) for other religious readers and 3) for non-believers at all.
  • courage. “Courage” is a virtue – as illustrated by Aristotle and the central focus of the third chapter, namely: “Critique of abysmall reasoning”. According to Aristotle, any virtue is an “aurea mediocritas”, a mediating state between an excess (boldness) and a deficiency (cowardice). More, any virtue, as well as courage, has five criteria and those criteria are presented from page 109 to 113.

The map:


Jonathan Lear (2006): “Radical hope. Ethics in the face of cultural devastation”, Harvard University Press

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