Summary: Dependent Rational Animals chapter 1, Vulnerability, dependence, animality

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here fore more chapter summaries from Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues.

“It is most often to others that we owe our survival, let alone our flourishing.” McIntyre opens by drawing attention to human vulnerability to affliction, such as illness, and the corresponding dependence on others for protection and sustenance, especially in childhood and old age. These facts, MacIntyre argues, “are so evidently of singular importance that it might seem that no account of the human condition whose authors hoped to achieve credibility could avoid giving them a central place.” “The disabled” are not “a separate class”, but “ourselves as we have been, sometimes are now and may well be in the future.” Continue reading “Summary: Dependent Rational Animals chapter 1, Vulnerability, dependence, animality”

Summary: Alasdair MacIntyre’s Dependent Rational Animals

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series.

“Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues” is a revised and expanded version of three lectures Alasdair MacIntyre gave in 1997. It seeks to address two questions: “Why is it important for us to attend to and to understand what human beings have in common with members of other intelligent animal species?” and “What makes attention to human vulnerability and disability important for moral philosophers?” MacIntyre especially hopes that his work on the latter question will help correct the insufficient attention given to it within moral philosophy. Continue reading “Summary: Alasdair MacIntyre’s Dependent Rational Animals”

Summary: Hannah Arendt’s On Revolution chapter 1, The Meaning of Revolution

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here fore more chapter summaries from On Revolution.

I

Antiquity knew well that “tyrants rise to power through the support of the plain or the poor people, and that their greatest chance to keep power lies in the people’s desire for equality of condition.” Prior to the modern era, political overthrows and upheavals, “prompted by interest… depended on a distinction between poor and rich which itself was deemed… natural and unavoidable in the body politic.” In the modern age, however, “men began to doubt that poverty is inherent in the human condition,” and the “social question”, the question of poverty and inequality, began to play a revolutionary role. Continue reading “Summary: Hannah Arendt’s On Revolution chapter 1, The Meaning of Revolution”

Summary: Hannah Arendt’s On Revolution, Introduction

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here fore more chapter summaries from On Revolution.

Arendt begins by stating that wars and revolutions have determined the face of the twentieth century, and, as opposed to the ideologies defining the twentieth century, war and revolution constitute the 20th century’s “two central political issues.” She states that the two have “outlived all their ideological justifications”, and that the only cause left is that of “freedom versus tyranny.” Continue reading “Summary: Hannah Arendt’s On Revolution, Introduction”

Summary: The Friend Chapter 3, Families and Friends

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here fore more chapter summaries from The Friend.

Chapter three opens with a discussion of the memorial brass for the joint tomb of John Bloxham and John Whytton in the chapel of Merton College, Oxford. The two stand beside each other with their hands together in prayer, looking at the viewer, a depiction common for joint tombs of spouses at the time. Bray points out that one of the most significant features of the memorial, however, are the names of the two men beneath an icon for St. John the Baptist. Bray writes that the design designates the saint “as their spiritual godfather and thus each other as spiritual brothers.” It establishes a kinship. Continue reading “Summary: The Friend Chapter 3, Families and Friends”

Summaries: The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Letter Eleven: Friendship (part two)

 

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here for more chapter summaries from The Pillar and Ground of the Truth.

Christianity is marked by an “agape-philia” antinomy. This antinomy exercises itself in “equal love for all and each in their unity, concentrated in a single focus of love for several, even for one in his separation from the general unity.” Christianity is marked by a paradoxical character that is both esoteric and exoteric, which is “not rationally compatible… [but] reconcilable only in the most profoundly mysterious Christian life.” Continue reading “Summaries: The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Letter Eleven: Friendship (part two)”

Summaries: The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Letter Eleven: Friendship (part one)

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here for more chapter summaries from The Pillar and Ground of the Truth.

Letter eleven opens with Florensky’s description of a snowy night that brings back memories of his friend. “I light a fragrant candle of amber-yellow wax before the Mother of God. We brought this candle from there, that is, from where you and I wandered together… Again I am with you. Every day I remember something about you, and then I sit down to write. Thus, from day to day, my life slides toward ‘the other shore,’ so that I could at least look at you from there, ‘by love having defeated death / and by death having defeated the passions . . .’” Continue reading “Summaries: The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Letter Eleven: Friendship (part one)”

Summary: Pavel Florensky’s The Pillar and Ground of the Truth

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series.

Pavel Florensky, identified by many as the greatest Russian Orthodox theologian of his time, wrote largely at the beginning of the twentieth century. Drawing from his broad education in philosophy, religion, art, and folklore, he wrote The Pillar and Ground of the Truth: an Essay in Orthodox Theodicy in Twelve Letters while a student, finishing it in 1908. It was published several years later in 1904. The book is composed of twelve letters, written to a “brother” or a “friend”, and is a broad exploration of Russian Orthodox theology. Continue reading “Summary: Pavel Florensky’s The Pillar and Ground of the Truth”

Summary: The Friend Chapter 2, Friend to Sir Philip Sidney

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here for more chapter summaries from The Friend.

In the seventeenth century, Fulke Greville planned a joint memorial for himself and his friend Philip Sidney. Like the tombstone of Sir William Neville and Sir John Clanvowe in the fourteenth century, the arrangement “might have been expected of the tomb of a husband and wife.” However, the sixteenth century tomb marks a development in the understanding of friendship.  Continue reading “Summary: The Friend Chapter 2, Friend to Sir Philip Sidney”

Summary: The Friend: Chapter 1, Wedded Brother

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here for more chapter summaries from The Friend.

Chapter one begins with a tomb in a fourteenth-century Dominican church in modern-day Istanbul. The shared tombstone of Sir William Neville and Sir John Clanvowe shows helmets facing each other, corresponding “to the stylized depiction of a kiss, and the arrangement of… two overlapping shields below to that of an embrace.” He notes that the arrangement of the arms “is that of a married couple.” Continue reading “Summary: The Friend: Chapter 1, Wedded Brother”