Rethinking Generosity: Critical Theory and the Politics of Caritas (Contestations)

Coles, Romand

Published by Cornell University Press, 1997
ISBN 10: 0801484871 / ISBN 13: 9780801484872
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Synopsis: Romand Coles explores how we might understand and motivate generosity in a world in which no theological or secular position can claim absolute privilege for itself. He argues that unless our generosity is fashioned in the context of a radical receptivity, we tend to undermine our best aspirations. In the agonistic dialogic character of human beings, Coles argues, is a practice of receptive generosity, an openness to the specific being and voices of others, and a concern to give them something of value. Ethical relations between people should be animated by receptive generosity, he suggests, but they are always fallible and rarely free of a tragic aspect that calls us critically to renew our efforts.
The word caritas is taken by Coles to signify a transfiguration of what he thinks is most worthy in the Christian tradition. 'Post-secular caritas' refers to the hope of advancing this project through more receptive efforts to engage others, in ways less prone to violence, imperialism, and assimilation than are many aspects of Christianity and liberalism.
In support of his theory, Coles offers provocative readings of Kant, Nietzsche, Adorno, and Habermas, bringing Adorno's ethical stance critically to bear upon the discourse ethics of Habermas. He then considers practical political implications, particularly for relations in civil society and among progressive social movements.

About the Author: Romand Coles is Associate Professor of Political Science at Duke University.

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Title: Rethinking Generosity: Critical Theory and ...
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication Date: 1997
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Good

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Coles, Romand
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