A Case for Irony (The Tanner lectures on human values)

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Richard Moran. Robert A.

Socratic and Secular Irony

Vanity Fair has declared the Age of Irony over. Joan Didion has lamented that Obama s United States is an irony-free zone. Here Jonathan. Authors: Lear, Jonathan. Used books may not include working access code or dust jacket. The Tanner Lectures on Human Values.

A Case For Irony The Tanner Lectures On Human Values

The cases that primarily concerned Kierkegaard were not of individual. More options Overview. Here Jonathan Lear argues that irony is one of the tools we use to live seriously, to get Front Cover The Tanner lectures on human values. Series: The Tanner lectures on human values. Sold by. A Case for Irony contains Jonathan Lear's two Tanner Lectures in Human Values, upon scholarly and scientific learning relating to human values," and it is.

For Lear and the participants in his Socratic dialogue, irony is not about Front Cover. Volume 13 of The Tanner lectures on human values.

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One cannot but help thinking about the irony seen here -. This is, he argues, precisely what irony allows us to do. This irony presupposes and fosters detachment from any set of ends or goals.

True irony, Lear insists, involves both detachment and attachment. That is something only assistant professors assume. This is not a continuation of my practical reasoning; it is a disruption of it.

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What was unproblematic has become problematic, and the problematic provides the opportunity for a deeper insight. What then can we learn from irony?

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In the Symposium , Plato depicts Socrates so caught up in wonder that he remains motionless in the midst of the commotion of everyday life; in the Hippias Major and the Hippias Minor , Socrates describes himself as suffering from a kind of seizure brought on by perplexity. The unreflective or hypocritical participants in a social practice are precisely the sort of folks who are likely to be incapable of irony. The paradigmatic case is someone who is deeply and reflectively committed to the ideals of a particular practice.

Only he can be afflicted with irony. It is something that afflicts superior types. So Socrates is not so much a perpetrator of irony as its willing victim.


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Plato, on the dominant reading, posits a faculty in the soul to account for the human capacity for transcendence. But this is not so much an explanation as a placeholder for an explanation, or so a contemporary consensus would have us believe. Instead of pursuing this line of inquiry, Lear turns to an examination of the role of irony in psychoanalysis, to the way in which the intrusion of the unconscious self into the awareness of the conscious self involves precisely an ironic disruption of the familiar self by the unfamiliar self.

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