Radical Hope

Radical Hope : Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation

3.83 (453 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?


Shortly before he died, Plenty Coups, the last great Chief of the Crow Nation, told his story-up to a certain point. "When the buffalo went away the hearts of my people fell to the ground," he said, "and they could not lift them up again. After this nothing happened." It is precisely this point-that of a people faced with the end of their way of life-that prompts the philosophical and ethical inquiry pursued in Radical Hope. In Jonathan Lear's view, Plenty Coups's story raises a profound ethical question that transcends his time and challenges us all: how should one face the possibility that one's culture might collapse?

This is a vulnerability that affects us all-insofar as we are all inhabitants of a civilization, and civilizations are themselves vulnerable to historical forces. How should we live with this vulnerability? Can we make any sense of facing up to such a challenge courageously? Using the available anthropology and history of the Indian tribes during their confinement to reservations, and drawing on philosophy and psychoanalytic theory, Lear explores the story of the Crow Nation at an impasse as it bears upon these questions-and these questions as they bear upon our own place in the world. His book is a deeply revealing, and deeply moving, philosophical inquiry into a peculiar vulnerability that goes to the heart of the human condition.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 140 x 210 x 13.72mm | 190.51g
  • Cambridge, Mass, United States
  • English
  • 0674027469
  • 9780674027466
  • 87,527

Table of contents

I. After This, Nothing Happened A Peculiar Vulnerability Protecting a Way of Life Gambling with Necessity Was There a Last Coup? Witness to Death Subject to Death The Possibility of Crow Poetry II. Ethics at the Horizon The End of Practical Reason Reasoning at the Abyss A Problem for Moral Psychology The Interpretation of Dreams Crow Anxiety The Virtue of the Chickadee The Transformation of Psychological Structure Radical Hope III. Critique of Abysmal Reasoning The Legitimacy of Radical Hope Aristotle's Method Radical Hope versus Mere Optimism Courage and Hope Virtue and Imagination Historical Vindication Personal Vindication Response to Sitting Bull Notes Acknowledgments Index
show more

Review quote

"A beautifully crafted and skillfully constructed examination of the dreams and hopes of Chief Plenty Coups, the last principal leader of the Crow people. Lear succeeds admirably in portraying the ethical and social issues Plenty Coups overcame to bring his people into a new, dramatically different reality." - Timothy P. McCleary, Little Big Horn College "Lear's book breaks new ground, in an extremely interesting way... This is what makes Lear's well-written and philosophically sophisticated book so valuable. As a story of courage and moral imagination, it is very powerful and moving. But it also offers the kind of insights that would-be builders of 'new world order' desperately need." - Charles Taylor, New York Review of Books"
show more

About Jonathan Lear

Jonathan Lear is John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago. He is also the Roman Family Director of the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society.
show more

Rating details

453 ratings
3.83 out of 5 stars
5 29% (132)
4 36% (165)
3 26% (117)
2 6% (29)
1 2% (10)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X