a common reader

Richard Sennett, Respect

July 14th, 2014  |  by  |  published in Boeken Janantoon | Comments Off on Richard Sennett, Respect

Richard Sennett, Respect

“Unlike food, respect costs nothing. Why, then, should it be in short supply?”
Respect can be attained by gaining success, by developing talents, through financial independence and by helping others. But, Sennett argues, many who are not able to achieve the demands of today’s meritocracy lose the esteem that should be given to them.
From his childhood in a poor Chicago housing project to the contrasting methods of care practised by a nun and a social worker, from the harmonious interaction of musicians to the welfare system, Sennett explores the ways in which mutual respect can forge bonds across the divide of inequality.

Martha C. Nussbaum, Political Emotions

July 12th, 2014  |  by  |  published in Boeken Janantoon | Comments Off on Martha C. Nussbaum, Political Emotions

Martha C. Nussbaum, Political Emotions

How can we achieve and sustain a “decent” liberal society, one that aspires to justice and equal opportunity for all and inspires individuals to sacrifice for the common good? In this book, a continuation of her explorations of emotions and the nature of social justice, Martha Nussbaum makes the case for love. Amid the fears, resentments, and competitive concerns that are endemic even to good societies, public emotions rooted in love—in intense attachments to things outside our control—can foster commitment to shared goals and keep at bay the forces of disgust and envy.

Great democratic leaders, including Abraham Lincoln, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr., have understood the importance of cultivating emotions. But people attached to liberalism sometimes assume that a theory of public sentiments would run afoul of commitments to freedom and autonomy. Calling into question this perspective, Nussbaum investigates historical proposals for a public “civil religion” or “religion of humanity” by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Auguste Comte, John Stuart Mill, and Rabindranath Tagore. She offers an account of how a decent society can use resources inherent in human psychology, while limiting the damage done by the darker side of our personalities. And finally she explores the cultivation of emotions that support justice in examples drawn from literature, song, political rhetoric, festivals, memorials, and even the design of public parks.

Tony Judt, The Burden of Responsibility

July 12th, 2014  |  by  |  published in Boeken Janantoon | Comments Off on Tony Judt, The Burden of Responsibility

Tony Judt, The Burden of Responsibility

Through the prism of the lives of Leon Blum, Albert Camus, and Raymond Aron, Judt examines pivotal issues in the history of contemporary French society, including anti-Semitism and the dilemma of Jewish identity, political and moral idealism in public life, the Marxist moment in French thought, the traumas of decolonization, the disaffection of the intelligentsia, and the insidious quarrels rending Right and Left. Judt focuses particularly on Blum’s leadership of the Popular Front and his stern defiance of the Vichy governments, on Camus’s part in the Resistance and Algerian War, and on Aron’s cultural commentary and opposition to the facile acceptance by many French intellectuals of communism’s utopian promise. Severely maligned by powerful critics and rivals, each of these exemplary figures stood fast in their principles and eventually won some measure of personal and public redemption.
Judt constructs a compelling portrait of modern French intellectual life and politics. He challenges the conventional account of the role of intellectuals precisely because they mattered in France, because they could shape public opinion and influence policy. In Blum, Camus, and Aron, Judt finds three very different men who did not simply play the role, but evinced a courage and a responsibility in public life that far outshone their contemporaries.

Richard Sennett, Together

May 18th, 2014  |  by  |  published in Boeken Janantoon | Comments Off on Richard Sennett, Together

Richard Sennett, Together

Living with people who differ — racially, ethnically, religiously, or economically — is the most urgent challenge facing civil society today. We tend socially to avoid engaging with people unlike ourselves, and modern politics encourages the politics of the tribe rather than of the city. In this thought-provoking book, Richard Sennett discusses why this has happened and what might be done about it.

Sennett contends that cooperation is a craft, and the foundations for skillful cooperation lie in learning to listen well and discuss rather than debate. In Together he explores how people can cooperate online, on street corners, in schools, at work, and in local politics. He traces the evolution of cooperative rituals from medieval times to today, and in situations as diverse as slave communities, socialist groups in Paris, and workers on Wall Street. Divided into three parts, the book addresses the nature of cooperation, why it has become weak, and how it could be strengthened. The author warns that we must learn the craft of cooperation if we are to make our complex society prosper, yet he reassures us that we can do this, for the capacity for cooperation is embedded in human nature.

Peter-Paul Verbeek, Op de vleugels van Icarus

April 23rd, 2014  |  by  |  published in Boeken Maarten | Comments Off on Peter-Paul Verbeek, Op de vleugels van Icarus

Peter-Paul Verbeek, Op de vleugels van Icarus

‘Wie alleen heel hard “nee” roept tegen nieuwe technologie, draait aan een stuur dat nergens op aangesloten is.’
— Peter-Paul Verbeek

Amartya Sen, Het idee van rechtvaardigheid

March 25th, 2014  |  by  |  published in Boeken Janantoon | Comments Off on Amartya Sen, Het idee van rechtvaardigheid

Amartya Sen, Het idee van rechtvaardigheid

Amartya Sen begint dit veelgeroemde boek met een eenvoudig voorbeeld. Drie kinderen maken ruzie om een fluit. Anne zegt dat zij de enige is die erop kan spelen en daarom recht heeft op de fluit. Bob zegt dat hij zo arm is dat hij zonder fluit geen speelgoed zou hebben. En Carla zegt dat de fluit van haar is omdat zij die zelf heeft gemaakt. Wat is in dit geval rechtvaardigheid? Ieder oordeel brengt onrechtvaardigheden met zich mee.

Michel Foucault, Le courage de la vérité

February 26th, 2014  |  by  |  published in Boeken Janantoon | Comments Off on Michel Foucault, Le courage de la vérité

Michel Foucault, Le courage de la vérité

Le cours intitulé “Le courage de la vérité” est le dernier que Michel Foucault aura prononcé au Collège de France, de février à mars 1984. Il meurt quelques mois plus tard. Ce contexte invite à entendre dans ces leçons un testament philosophique, d’autant plus que le thème de la mort est très présent, notamment à travers une relecture des dernières paroles de Socrate, que Foucault, avec Dumézil, comprend comme l’expression d’une profonde gratitude envers la philosophie, qui guérit de la seule maladie grave: celle des opinions fausses et des préjugés. […]

Emmanuel Levinas, Totaliteit en Oneindigheid

July 27th, 2013  |  by  |  published in Boeken Janantoon | Comments Off on Emmanuel Levinas, Totaliteit en Oneindigheid

Emmanuel Levinas, Totaliteit en Oneindigheid

Totaliteit en oneindigheid is het meesterwerk van de Frans-Joodse filosoof Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995). Het boek verscheen in 1961, en groeide spoedig uit tot een van de meest invloedrijke werken van de naoorlogse filosofie, waarin het denken over ethiek een nieuwe wending krijgt.
Levinas laat in Totaliteit en oneindigheid zien waarom de ethiek niet afhankelijk is van de mens als handelend ‘ik’, maar van de ontmoeting met de ander, de medemens, die als het ware intervenieert in mijn leven. Deze oneindige ander breekt in op de totaliteit van het ‘ik’. Rechtvaardigheid, barmhartigheid, respect, compassie, betrouwbaarheid, al deze ethische waarden zijn geen zaken die ik uit mijzelf ‘doe’, maar ze vormen een antwoord op de verschijning, telkens weer, van deze andere mens. Levinas concretiseert deze verschijning onder meer door een fenomenologische analyse uit te voeren van wat er gebeurt wanneer ik met het gezicht van de ander geconfronteerd wordt. De weerloosheid van dit andere gelaat doet een beroep op mijn verantwoordelijkheid.

Hannah Arendt, de film

May 1st, 2013  |  by  |  published in film | Comments Off on Hannah Arendt, de film

Hannah Arendt, de film

Hannah Arendt lijkt nog steeds voor controverse te kunnen zorgen. Vijftig jaar na de publicatie van Eichmann in Jerusalem, zorgt de film over deze periode ook nog voor gespreksstof. Zie maar eens naar de stroom van commentaren op de site van Pierre Assouline. Hij bespreekt de film positief op zijn voortreffelijke literaire blog La république […]



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