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Ethical Life

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi Part One Natures Introduction Ethical Affordances, Awareness, and Actions 3 Some Questions about Ethical Life 6 Defining Ethics and Morality 16 Awareness and Reflexivity 21 Ethical Affordances 27 Overview of the Book 32 Chapter 1 Psychologies of Ethics 39 Seeking Ethical Foundations 39 How Psychologists Define Ethics and Morality 40 Empathy and Altruism 46 Self and Other 48 Mind Reading 51 Psychology's Challenge to Ethical Awareness 54 Moral Emotions and Normative Judgments 58 Third-Person Perspective 63 Making Things Explicit 67 Ethical Affordances in Psychology 70 Part Two Interactions Chapter 2 Selves and Others 77 Giving Accounts 77 Intersubjectivity 79 Intention-Seeking 83 Conversational Inferences 86 Shared Reality 88 Regard for One Another 93 A Semiotics of Character 96 Ethical Vulnerability 99 Chapter 3 Problematizing Interaction 110 Dignity and Respect 110 Variations on Intersubjectivity 117 Underdetermined Emotions, Specific Concepts 122 The Opacity of Other Minds 124 Interiority 126 One's Own Thoughts 128 Local Themes, Affordances Everywhere 130 Chapter 4 Ethical Types 133 Moral Breakdown? 133 Self-Awareness and Other People 136 Standing before the Law 140 The Inner Clash of Ethical Voices 143 Dysfluency and Ethical Conflict 146 Disciplining the Clash of Voices 148 Typifying Character Explicitly 151 Ethical Figures and Types 153 Defining the Situation 156 Interaction as Affordance 160 Part Three Histories Chapter 5 Awareness and Change 167 Shifting Stances 167 Ethical Progress? 172 The Social Production of Ethical Problems 180 Abolitionism 184 Consciousness-Raising 187 From Personal Experiences to Analytical Categories 190 Reconstructing Ethical Feelings 194 Chapter 6 Making Morality in Religion 199 Ethical Life and Morality Systems 199 Historical Objects 201 Taking Ethics in Hand 203 Ethics as Piety 206 Habitual Ethics 207 The God's-Eye Point of View 208 Entextualization and Sacred Truth 211 Abstraction and Struggle 214 Chapter 7 Making Morality in Political Revolution 216 The Ethical Attack on Religion 216 Ethical Sources of Vietnamese Revolutionary Thought 218 Everyday Ethics, Everyday Oppression 221 Revolutionary Ethics 223 Reforming Social Interaction 228 The Various Fates of Ethical Revolution 233 History's Affordances 237 Conclusion 241 Affordances, Awareness, Agency 241 Human Rights 248 Humanitarianism 256 First-, Second-, and Third-Person Positions 259 Bibliography 263 Index 281

About the Author

Webb Keane is the George Herbert Mead Collegiate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Christian Moderns: Freedom and Fetish in the Mission Encounter and Signs of Recognition: Powers and Hazards of Representation in an Indonesian Society.


"A book that masterfully interweaves insights from philosophy and the natural and social sciences."--Max Hayward, Times Literary Supplement "This far-reaching discussion of ethical life and moral systems by anthropologist Keane aspires to combine the traditions of what he calls 'natural history' with those of 'social history'... This rich and original study will certainly fascinate anyone with an intellectual interest in morality and ethics."--Choice "Ethical Life is an extraordinary book. It is broad in its scope, careful and reflective in its elaboration of a theoretical vocabulary, it deals with basic issues for the humanities and the social sciences and manages to produce genuine and thought-provoking new insights."--Ethical Theory and Moral Practice "An extraordinary achievement that deserves a wide readership way beyond anthropology. In short, Keane has given social scientists a theoretically informed way in which to approach ethics as an empirical phenomenon and he has provided scholars usually working within moral philosophy new challenges with his invitation to think of ethics as socially engrained--all the way down."--Klaus Hoeyer, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

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