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Title: Scandalous ethics : infinite presence with suffering
Language of title: English
Author/Creator: Annabella Pitkin


Below is the author's own abstract of an essay included in the book Between Ourselves: Second-person Issues in the Study of Consciousness. This book is actually a special issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies, an interdisciplinary journal attempting to understand the question of consciousness and subjectivity from a wide range of theoretical, scientific, and practical perspectives. As a natural extension of the ongoing discussions within the study of consciousness concerning first-person, subjective versus third-person, objective approaches, this volume looks at the study of consciousness based on the theme of second-person or "I-you" perspective. In this context, the author of this article looks at how "scandalous statements" subjectively unfold in the context of the second-person perspective. (Zach Rowinski 2005-01-10)

Author's Abstract: I want to argue here that certain Buddhist and Jewish thinkers say scandalous things on purpose. More scandalously still, I suggest that these statements are infused with deeply transformative ethical power, intended specifically as a way of relating to the dreadful fact of suffering. As scandals, these special responses to suffering intentionally rupture normal semantic patterns and sequences of thought, often through statements or actions which appear paradoxical. These scandalous statements are, in fact, always communicative in function, structure, and intent, but they are designed to create a kind of 'cognitive dissonance'. The thinkers I consider here say scandalous things in order to cause a breaking-open in the consciousness of the hearer and practitioner, which produces compassion, transformation, and liberation. Counter-intuitively, this rupture highlights intersubjectivity and language. In thus talking about scandal and about ethical responses to suffering, this essay brings into dialogue ideas from two very different source traditions (admittedly a project which is fraught with some methodological risks). I engage Mahayana Buddhist ideas (of the Prasangika-Madhyamika variety) in conversation with the modern Jewish philosopher of ethics, Emmanuel Levinas.

Publisher Place: Devon
Publisher: Imprint Academic
Normalized publisher place: Devon
Publisher country: United Kingdom
Publisher URL: http://www.imprint.co.uk/
Published Date: 2001
URL: http://www.imprint.co.uk/books/between_ourselves.html#Pitkin
Subject: Consciousness
Prāsaṅgika-Mādhyamika (dbu ma thal 'gyur pa)
Subversive behavior
Cognitive dissonance
Classification: Buddhism and Science -- International Science -- Cognitive Science -- Consciousness Studies
Cultural Coverage: Euro-American
Temporal coverage: 21st century CE
Language: English
Series 2 editor:
Source URL: http://www.imprint.co.uk/books/between_ourselves.html
Source: Between ourselves : second-person issues in the study of consciousness
Source Editor: Evan Thompson
Source Type: Collected Volume (single author)
Source Page Numbers: 231-246
ISBN/ISSN: 0907845142

Means of availability: This article is available online and in print. See journal's website (the source URL) for more information.

Format: Online resource
Print media (print or manuscript, including PDFs)
Resource Type: Article
Release Flag: OK for viewing
Date Of Record Creation: 2005-03-22 12:20:20
Date Record Checked: 2005-03-22
Date Last Modified: 2005-12-20 17:36:16
Cumulative Rating: this resource has a 1 star rating
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