Skip to main content
×
×
Home
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 8
  • Cited by
    This (lowercase (translateProductType product.productType)) has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Stickney, Jeff 2017. Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory. p. 1339.

    Achilles, Jochen 2017. Environmental Liminalities: Negotiating Metaphysics and Materialism in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, Sherwood Anderson’s, and Flannery O'Connor’s Short Fiction. ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, Vol. 24, Issue. 3, p. 482.

    Brecher, Bob 2014. ‘What is professional ethics?’. Nursing Ethics, Vol. 21, Issue. 2, p. 239.

    Brecher, Bob 2010. The politics of professional ethics. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, Vol. 16, Issue. 2, p. 351.

    Gould, Harry D. 2010. The Legacy of Punishment in International Law. p. 1.

    Bleiker, Roland 2009. Aesthetics and World Politics. p. 18.

    Frazier, Brad 2006. Rorty and Kierkegaard on Irony and Moral Commitment. p. 7.

    Rosenthal, Denise 2001. "The mythical jew": Antisemitism, intellectuals, and democracy in post-communist Romania. Nationalities Papers, Vol. 29, Issue. 3, p. 419.

    ×
  • Print publication year: 1989
  • Online publication date: June 2012

4 - Private irony and liberal hope

Summary

All human beings carry about a set of words which they employ to justify their actions, their beliefs, and their lives. These are the words in which we formulate praise of our friends and contempt for our enemies, our long-term projects, our deepest self-doubts and our highest hopes. They are the words in which we tell, sometimes prospectively and sometimes retrospectively, the story of our lives. I shall call these words a person's “final vocabulary.”

It is “final” in the sense that if doubt is cast on the worth of these words, their user has no noncircular argumentative recourse. Those words are as far as he can go with language; beyond them there is only helpless passivity or a resort to force. A small part of a final vocabulary is made up of thin, flexible, and ubiquitous terms such as “true,” “good,” “right,” and “beautiful.” The larger part contains thicker, more rigid, and more parochial terms, for example, “Christ,” “England,” “professional standards,” “decency,” “kindness,” “the Revolution,” “the Church,” “progressive,” “rigorous,” “creative.” The more parochial terms do most of the work.

I shall define an “ironist” as someone who fulfills three conditions: (1) She has radical and continuing doubts about the final vocabulary she currently uses, because she has been impressed by other vocabularies, vocabularies taken as final by people or books she has encountered; (2) she realizes that argument phrased in her present vocabulary can neither underwrite nor dissolve these doubts; (3) insofar as she philosophizes about her situation, she does not think that her vocabulary is closer to reality than others, that it is in touch with a power not herself.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity
  • Online ISBN: 9780511804397
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511804397
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *
×