In praise of foolish conviviality : Some thoughts on the unthinkable connection between tradition, spontaneity and ethics
Author(s)Abspoel, Peter (1962-)
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AbstractIn this article, conviviality is examined as a constitutive part of human life. On the basis of (ethnographic) examples and discussion, it is maintained that it is a fundamental good, necessary for the valuation of most other goods. The role and function of conviviality, however, are often obscured in theory. Aristotle’s view of the virtues still allowed room for it. Most modern scientific and philosophical approaches ascribe a thinkable motive to interactions that stimulate our spontaneity and faith in life, such as the motive of solving problems that can be construed in objective terms (as in neo-Darwinism), or of seeing reality correspond to reflexive representations of life (as in hermeneutics). Maurice Blondel’s critique of intellectualism and his view of tradition are invoked. By accepting conviviality as a prerequisite for human spirituality, we can focus on aspects of Christianity - like a respect for concrete traditions - that tend to disappear into the background when we frame its teachings and promises in intellectual terms. The argument also points to dangers connected with the fact that instrumental logic largely determines the shape of modern life: we easily forget one of the key conditions for experiencing human life as fulfilling and worthwhile.
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