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Care and Uncertain Futures

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Abstract

‘All my reason’s interest’, states Immanuel Kant (1996, A804–5/B832–3), ‘is united in the following three questions: What can I know? What ought I to do? What may I hope?’ In Chapter 1, it was suggested that, whatever else is taken to be characteristic of humans as a species, being concerned about how an intrinsically uncertain future will unfold is a thread woven through all three of Kant’s questions, and is universal to what, after Hannah Arendt, we might call ‘the human condition’. Describing a ‘condition’ is different from attempting to describe the constituent elements of something like a human essence. It is to describe the character of human experience, in its dynamism and variety, rather than stepping back from experience to posit a metaphysical essence that underlies and shapes it. Uncertainty might be regarded as an element inhabited by human beings in a way analogous to how water is the element in which fish swim. This is a phenomenological, rather than metaphysical, characterisation of experience and its contents. In other words, insofar as things appear to us as phenomena, their salience and meaning are given to us against a background of uncertainty — in relation both to the past, in the form of fragmentary memories, but more emphatically, in relation to an as yet perhaps largely undecided future. In this chapter, we explore how it is through the ways we have of dealing with uncertainty that our experiences take on the specific meaning they have for us.

Keywords

Moral Philosophy Attachment Style Attachment Relationship Uncertain Future Feminist Concept 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Christopher Groves 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social SciencesCardiff UniversityUK

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