Anthropology and Philosophy: Dialogues on Trust and Hope

The current ebook is not any usual anthology, yet really a workroom within which anthropologists and philosophers start up a discussion on belief and desire, vital themes for either fields of analysis. The e-book combines paintings among students from diverse universities within the U.S. and Denmark. therefore, along with bringing the 2 disciplines in discussion, it additionally cuts throughout changes in nationwide contexts and educational sort. The interdisciplinary efforts of the individuals exhibit how this sort of collaboration may end up in new and difficult methods of considering belief and desire. analyzing the dialogues might, for this reason, additionally encourage others to paintings within the effective intersection among anthropology and philosophy.

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For the past fifteen years, one of the authors (Cheryl Mattingly), and her colleagues, have been carrying out fieldwork in Los Angeles among African-American families caring for children with serious and chronic medical conditions. This research has led to thinking about hope in increasingly complex ways. Hope is rarely a personal matter for the families in the study; rather, it is deeply interdependent. It connects very directly to their struggle to cultivate relations and build communities with others, to cultivate trust, even across social and political divides that may seem to make these tasks nearly impossible.

Arendt, in particular, elucidates Greek Antiquity’s conception of practical reasoning as related to moral concerns with phronesis, the cultivation of virtues, the human pursuit of the good life, and a portrait of the human condition as an experience of vulnerable temporality. Neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics in Anglo-American philosophical traditions developed several decades after Heidegger’s reintroduction of Aristotle to continental philosophy—around the middle of the twentieth century. There are many reasons for this “discovery” of Aristotle in ordinary language philosophy, moral philosophy, and philosophy of action.

We are constantly under the influence of our desires and our inclinations, but we are still destined to make ourselves worthy of humanity (Wilson 2006: 38). Today, few would adopt Kant’s teleological philosophy of history and his vision of continuous and inevitable historical process toward a just cosmopolitan world order. One might reasonably ask: Why then draw upon Kant at all? If we reject Kant’s idea of transcendental freedom, his a priori principles, and his teleological philosophy of history, do we not need another philosophical framework to secure the role of cosmopolitan anthropology ascribed by Kant?

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