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MUP Catalogs

The Kierkegaard-Girard Option

By author: Charles K. Bellinger
Product Code: P592
ISBN: 9780881467246
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In an age of sharply increasing cultural polarization that has led many people to consider retreat into enclaves of the like-minded, this book seeks to persuade its readers that we need better quality conversations across ideological camps, and that the writings of Søren Kierkegaard and René Girard provide very effective tools for facilitating such conversations. The writings of Kenneth Burke are also drawn on, as an important bridge figure who influenced Girard. All three thinkers can lead us to careful reflections on the psychological and social roots of violent behavior, which is a crucially important topic in need of deeper and broader understanding. Disagreements among people of differing worldviews tend to descend quickly into shrill shouting matches, as Alasdair MacIntyre predicted in After Virtue; but his proposed answer--read Aquinas--is less likely to gain traction than this trio of more contemporary authors. The incident involving the Covington Catholic High School boys was described by many observers as a "media lynching" of the boys, made possible by "Trump Derangement Syndrome." It is to be hoped that no one who has read this book and absorbed its insights would contribute to the lynching of anyone, whether they think from the left, the right, or the increasingly rare center. Girard memorably said that "The victims most interesting to us are always those who allow us to condemn our neighbors. And our neighbors do the same." Thinking with Kierkegaard, Girard, and Burke can lead us into a different and more productive mode of conversation.
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