Item description for A Common Humanity: Thinking about Love and Truth and Justice by Raimond Gaita...
During the Spanish Civil War, George Orwell was asked why he could not shoot an enemy soldier who was running holding up his trousers. Orwell replied I had come here to shoot at 'Fascists'; but a man who is holding up his trousers isn't a 'Fascist'. This volume is about what predicaments such as Orwell's tell us about humanity. Drawing on a wealth of examples including the Holocaust and attempts to deny it, the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the taking of children of mixed blood from Aboriginal parents in Australia, and the work of Primo Levi, Hannah Arendt and Simone Weil, Raimond Gaita sets out a new picture of our common humanity. He urges us to recognize that whilst many of these examples call into question whether there is such a thing as a common humanity, it is not the idea of humanity that is at fault. It is the empty language of rights and obligations we use to explain what a human being is. It leaves no room for our ability to love other human beings and to share with them grief, hope, guilt, shame and remorse.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.74" Width: 5.18" Height: 0.94" Weight: 0.8 lbs.
Release Date Feb 8, 2002
ISBN 0415241146 ISBN13 9780415241144
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More About Raimond Gaita
Raimond Gaita is professor of moral philosophy at King's College, University of London and foundation professor of philosophy at the Australian Catholic University. In 2007, his award-winning memoir Romulus, My Father was turned into a feature film starring Eric Bana and Franka Potente. His other books include Good and Evil: An Absolute Conception, A Common Humanity, The Philosopher's Dog and Why the War Was Wrong (as editor and contributor).
Raimond Gaita was born in 1946 and has an academic affiliation as follows - King's College London, UK and Australian Catholic University, Australi.
Reviews - What do customers think about A Common Humanity: Thinking about Love and Truth and Justice?
illiterate Jun 21, 2006
Despite having the title and presumably the tax-payer funded salary of a professor, this person cannot write English. When an intelligible sentence occasionally emerges, it turns out upon examination to be a cliche or a tautology. A disgraceful waste of trees and time.
thoughtful and compassionate May 4, 2001
I read this book on basis of positive book reviews and I can only agree with those recommendations. Prof. Gaita as a professional philosopher deals with profound yet everyday occurrences and issues of human life, as the title also suggests: 'thinking about love and truth and justice'. This book deals with morality, concepts of good and evil and what occurs in human lives with intelligence, subtlety and compassion. He discusses, inter alia, the Holocaust, racism, and Australian Aboriginals. He points out that other people are treated as sub-humans only when there is a denial of the common humanity with the other. And these are issues on what occurs in human lives that every generation has to face and think about anew. I particularly liked his explanation of our relation to other, the notion that our sense of reality of others is partly conditioned by our vulnerability to them, the realisation of what it means to wrong them. Remorse is that realisation, and it is interdependent with a definite (and innate?) concept of evil. Grief, when it is not self-indulgent, is a heightened form of the awareness of another, a pained realisation of the independent reality of those we have lost. According to Gaita, it is astonishing that there could be such a state as guilt and suffering as remorse, with as a counterpart the wonder that other human beings could matter so much to us.
It is challenging, moving, and certainly not an easy book to read, and i do not pretend I always fully could follow the reasoning. But then, i did not expect it to be easy. In fact, I would have been suspicious if that would have been the case. The approach is different from e.g. the American philosopher R. Rorty and i found it as enlightening. Recommended!