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The Paradox of Power and Weakness


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Prologue Part I: Psychology's Anomaly and an Alternative Paradigm Chapter One: Radical Altruism: An Anomaly to Modern Psychology A real distinction between altruism and self-interest Psychology's contribution to the cynicism of modern ideologies Psychology: A psukhology as well as an egology Reflection on social problems shows the paradoxical Statement of the paradox The paradox of the power of weakness Quick survey of ethical theories The paradox of the weakness of power The Itinerary Chapter Two: An Alternative Paradigm: The Philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas The psukhe (breath, spirit, soul) is the-Other-in-me Six fundamental distinctions: Totality and infinity Need and desire Willful activity and radical passivity Self-initiated freedom and invested freedom Social equality and ethical inequality The said and saying Part II: The Egology of Power and Weakness Chapter Three: Power and the Power of Power Phenomenological method: disclosing and declaring Power and the power of power at three psychological levels Cognitive power: intelligence for understanding Behavioral power: exerted effort for success Affective Power: satisfaction for happiness How power empowers power Conclusion Chapter Four: Weakness and the Weakness of Weakness Phenomenological method: exposing and accusing Weakness and the weakness of weakness at three levels Cognitive weakness: ignorance for bad choices Behavioral weakness: lazy and cowardly for failure Affective weakness: dissatisfaction for suffering How weakness weakens its weakness Conclusion Part III: The Psukhology of the Paradoxical Chapter Five: The Weakness of Power Phenomenological method: being exposed and confessing The weakness of power The Gyges Complex: self-righteous and obsessive The Zeus Complex: manipulative and compulsive The Narcissus Complex: self-indulgent and addictive How power weakens power Conclusion Chapter Six: The Power of Weakness Phenomenological method: listening to, being touched, and responding The power of weakness Simplicity: the gift of self-skepticism for attentive understanding Humility: the gift of self-substitution for obedient service Patience: the gift of self-sacrifice for compassion The origin and direction of the self How the weakness of the Other empowers the self and empowers the Other Conclusion Part IV: The Paradox of Community Interlude: Social justice Based on Radical Altruism The appeal to hagiology: Edith Wyschogrod The cynicism of ideology: Peter Sloterdijk The limits to altruism: Roger Burggraeve Chapter Seven: The Power of Community Phenomenological method: community communicates and assigns responsibilities Communities understood by using the three levels of the psukhe: cognition, behavior, affect Educational community Political community Commercial community The power of the Common Good in schools, governments, and businesses Conclusion Epilogue Bibliography Index

About the Author

George Kunz is Associate Professor of Psychology at Seattle University.


"The Paradox of Power and Weakness is an important piece of work. Kunz writes a text accessible to a wide audience: to the ethical philosopher, to the public at large, to academics in many disciplines. For myself, I will enjoy reading it many times." - Ron Shaffer, Western Washington University "Kunz has straightforwardly and clearly exposed what a psychology would be like based in Levinasian thought. Although some psychologists have criticized the egology which is the center of modern psychology, few have a well-grounded philosophy upon which to found an alternative. Kunz has deftly connected the philosophy and the psychology." - David R. Harrington, Sheldon Jackson College "This book is interesting to read and extremely accessible. Kunz's use of examples taken from everyday life is extremely effective. He has adapted Levinas's proto-ethics so that it can more concretely address the day-to-day issues of living ethically. He has also demonstrated that one can think of Levinas's thought in a psychological framework-a possibility that many have argued might be fruitful but few have actually attempted to articulate. Kunz's elaboration of humility and simplicity as core characteristics of the human psyche offers a revolutionary critique of contemporary theories of human personality both in psychology and philosophy." - James Hatley, Salisbury State University

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