There's another BERRY LECTURE coming up Thursday night, this one by Reasonable Atheism co-author Rob Talisse ("Must Life Be Tragic?"). Lecture begins at 7:30 in Furman 114, but come early for booze & informal conversation.
Also, on Friday at 3:15 pm: Vandy's philosophy department hosts a colloquium featuring Jill Stauffer of Haverford College, in Furman Hall 109. Reception to follow.
Ethical Loneliness: Forgiveness, Resentment, and Recovery
In this paper, I offer an account of “ethical loneliness”: a term I’m developing to describe a condition undergone by persons who have been unjustly treated and dehumanized by human beings and political structures, who emerge from that injustice only to find that the surrounding world will not listen to or cannot properly hear their testimony—their claims about what they suffered and about what is now owed them—on their own terms. My sense is that the concept advances understanding of what is lost by victims recovering from violence or oppression. It also helps reveal the limits to both the restorative discourse of truth and forgiveness and the retributive procedural-legality approach, such that we might better understand when and how the different approaches succeed or fail, and whether there are sites where the two might meet. Finally, it draws our attention to the distinction between "wrongs inflicted" and "harms experienced," and shows how better marking this distinction might help international and domestic criminal justice systems improve their treatment of victims and thus their ability to do justice. Relying on Levinas’ work both in Existence and Existents andOtherwise than Being, combined with examples from testimony of survivors, I hope to show that Levinas gives us resources with which to think through how to respond to violence, resources that are sorely needed in current discussions of transitional justice and political reconciliation.