HPP Colloquium: 28th February 2015, Persons and Community
Video footage of talks will soon be available at the media page.
'Self-consciousness and Other Selves in Hegel'
Tenzin Dechen Rochard
‘Being Kind to Oneself Means Being Kind to Others: A Buddhist Approach to Rational Self-Interest, Selflessness, and Altruism’
'The Concept of the Person: A Catholic-Aristotelian, Practical'
Short papers will be delivered by Nikolas Prassas, Agata Filipowicz, Robbert-Jan Winters and Jacob Burda.
The relationship between a person and her community, or from the first-person perspective, between self and other, has played a central role in the history of philosophy. This is especially true of ethics which might be construed broadly as an attempt to reconcile each person’s self-interest with the interests of others.
On a widespread view communities are seen as dependent upon and grounding in the individuals that belong to them. Ethical and political theories that start from this assumption such as social contract theory standardly make the individual and her interests the basic unit of moral theorising. Other ethical traditions that put emphasis on the individual include liberalism, existentialism, and anarchism.
On the other hand many thinkers have defended a reversal of this relation between individual person and community. Such a view is famously proposed by Hegel who makes the dependence of the individual on wider social and historical structures fundamental to his political philosophy. Likewise thinkers in the Buddhist tradition have argued that self and other must be understood in terms of their relatedness to one another, and that for this reason self-interest and moral obligation ultimately converge.
Other traditions are harder to classify. For example the virtue ethics associated with ancient thinkers like Aristotle can be seen as heavily individualistic, if not egoistic in its emphasis upon personal flourishing. However Aristotle himself makes interpersonal relations such as friendship and social virtues like justice central to his ethical thought.
The Humane Philosophy Project in collaboration with the Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion will present a series of seven talks discussing the relationship between the human person and her community, and the fundamental importance of this relation for ethics.