“In order to prevent future moral catastrophe, we need to encourage thoughtfulness and discourage thoughtlessness. In order to do this, we need to include philosophers’ biographies when considering their philosophies. […] Nixon ends by admitting how he believes too much thoughtfulness could lead to mental quagmire, as in Heidegger, thoughtlessness would lead to more Eichmanns, and points to Mendelssohn, whom befriended a teenage Arendt, as giving an example of how to foster thinking. It’s a nice sentiment, and we can agree Mendelssohn did a good thing, however by leaving it there, Nixon fails to follow his own call to action.
Biography does indeed need to be considered when thinking about thinkers and their thoughts- what this really means is we cannot think about thought alone; the material reality and its influences on a persons thoughts and actions is necessary to truly understand either.” … More Arendt’s “Thoughtfulness” & Bourdieu’s “Reflexivity”: Differences, Similarities & Consequences | Part 2
“Similarly to how Arendt saw the process of becoming thoughtful as a reaction to actual events, Bourdieu claims that reflexivity, the temporary ability for us to reflect upon and change our social practices (which include thoughtfulness), is a reaction to the world. […] Arendt’s life cause her to become not just thoughtful, but reflecting on her own thoughtfulness, allows Arendt to develop her ideas about the connection between thoughtfulness and morality […] Similarly, Bourdieu wrestled with internal conflicts which, in a similarly meta-reflexive action, helped him develop the concept of cleft habitus. […] Thinking about how doxa affects social practices, which include both the social practice of thinking as such, and reflexivity, can then help us understand how doxa themselves can be considered forms of capital. […] we might say that Arendt’s refusal to systematise her thinking was due to her cleft habitus, as a fractured habitus could perhaps only contain fractured doxa- a habitus without a bannister.” … More Arendt’s “Thoughtfulness” & Bourdieu’s “Reflexivity”: Differences, Similarities & Consequences | Part 1
“The diffusion of responsibility is the phenomena whereby one considers that one is less responsible for some action when others are present- they absorb some of the responsibility or another might even be perceived to take it all, for example in cases where an authority is present. The government is not only not the bystander it wants us to think it is, but it has the knowledge and power to act so is responsible nevertheless. Public intellectuals, including social scientists, need to reinforce this idea or things will never change and we similarly act as irresponsible deferrers of responsibility. Those individuals responsible for disability assessments that label dying people fit for work, cut their benefits, and might as well just kill those they assess, should be vilified until held to account. As an extreme example, but using the same logic, if we don’t hold these people to account, then the Nazis who “just drove the trains” are not culpable for their role in the holocaust.” … More The Responsibility of Public Intellectuals in Holding Governments to Account | The Diffusion of Responsibility in Bureaucracy | The Connection Between the Holocaust & Welfare Cuts | Dedicated to Hannah Arendt