Kenan Malik (1960) behandelt in a.s. boek over het morele denken ook Spinoza

Kenan Malik is in India geboren en groeide op in Manchester (Engeland). Hij studeerde neurobiologie aan de Universiteit van Sussex en geschiedenis en wetenschapsfilosofie aan Imperial College in Londen. Hij schreef artikelen voor onder andere The Guardian, The Independent, The Financial Times en Nature. En hij schreef enige spraakmakende boeken:

The Meaning of Race: Race, History and Culture in Western Society [Palgrave / New York University Press, 1996]

Man, Beast and Zombie: What Science Can and Cannot Tell Us About Human Nature [Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2000 / Rutgers University Press, 2002]. Ook in het Nederlands vertaald overzicht van de opvattingen binnen diverse wetenschappelijke disciplines over het wezen van de mens.

Strange Fruit: Why both sides are wrong in the race debate [Oneworld, 2008]

From Fatwa To Jihad: The Rushdie Affair And Its Legacy [Atlantic Books, 2009]. Ook in het Nederlands vertaalde beschouwing over de houding van moslims ten opzichte van de vrijheid van meningsuiting en hun woede over kritische boeken en cartoons over de islam.

Aan een boek dat dit jaar zal verschijnen bij Atlantic en waarin hij “a history of moral thought” wil geven, werkte hij deels in het openbaar door vooraf al grote delen ervan op een blog te plaatsen om er alvast reacties mee uit te lokken, waarmee hij zijn voordeel zou kunnen doen. Daarin bleek dat ook Spinoza’s Ethica aan de orde komt: A BOOK IN PROGRESS [PART 10]: SPINOZA’S ETHICS

Na een korte algemene schets over Spinoza schrijft hij over wat ook ik al vaak heb aangeduid als de paradox bij Spinoza:

Moral liberation and human freedom depend, paradoxically, then, on accepting the necessity of all things, on acknowledging that things cannot be otherwise. But there is another paradox here. Spinoza insists that the world, and the actions of individuals, cannot be otherwise and that freedom comes from accepting the system of necessity. But in accepting that the world cannot be otherwise, we are demonstrating that it can. Spinoza believes that we have a choice: either we accept that the world cannot be otherwise and in so doing achieve freedom and demonstrate virtue, or we continue to rage against necessity, thereby becoming trapped in our impotence, and prey to destructive passions such as anger, hatred and jealousy. The choice we have is to accept that we have no choice. But in accepting that we have no choice, we demonstrate that we do.

This is a paradox at the heart, not just of Spinoza’s work, but of all ethical theories, from Stoicism to many contemporary naturalistic theories, that deny free will but accept the possibility of moral transformation. Such theories are faced with the other side of Descartes’ dilemma. In separating mind and matter, Descartes found himself unable to explain how mind influenced body, or indeed how one could rationally explain the mind and its products. Spinoza insisted on a naturalistic understanding of the human condition, including of mind, thoughts, desires and emotions, but could not explain how humans could choose to transform themselves. And yet in that paradox lies also the significance of Spinoza’s theory. Just as the two irreconcilable sides of Descartes’ argument – a mechanistic view of the universe and an almost mystical view of the human agent – have both come to inform the way we think of the world and our place in it, so too have the two irreconcilable sides of Spinoza’s theory, the naturalistic view of the human condition and the insistence on the importance of freedom and of self-transformation.

The importance of Spinoza lies not in his claim that things cannot be otherwise but in his belief that the human condition can be rationally understood and that out of this understanding emerges the tools with which we can transform ourselves. [Hier méér]

                                                  * * *

Hij mengt zich vooral in imigratie- en multiculturalisme-debatten

Canada's "illiberal" immigration policies [hier]

What's Wrong With Multiculturalism? [Hier]

Aanvulling 21 mei 2013

Kenan Malik nam deel aan de onlangs in Brussels gehouden conferentie over de Radicale Verlichting, waar hij Jonathan Israel interviewde over diens boeken, daar hij er een essay over wil schrijven. Zie hier daarover op zijn blog.

Reacties

Allemaal mooi gezegd door meneeer Malik, maar de paradox is slechts schijnbaar. Ik laat mij echter thans, op bevrijdingsdag (toen ik 68 j. geleden werd beschoten en geraakt) niet verleiden tot discussie daarover.

Wim, je kunt rustig je bevrijdingsdag vieren: we zijn het eens en discussie is niet nodig.
Een paradox betékent namelijk op zich al: een ogenschijnlijke tegenstrijdigheid of schijnbare tegenspraak. Anders gezegd, en dan gaat het om een literaire stijlfiguur: de paradox heeft de vorm van een tegenstrijdigheid, maar deze is oplosbaar.

Blog aangevuld met een verfwijzing.

I just added this blog site to my rss reader, excellent stuff. Can not get enough!

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