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[Xmca-l] Re: Appeal for help

I understand what Elinami and you, Carol, are saying. My unwillingness to acknowledge this idea without qualification is that the idea that "honour" is such a factor in the self-consciousness of people not from liberal-individualist capitalist societies is associated with the denigration of other cultures. Suicide and depression (when not leading to actual suicide) are at almost epidemic levels in these liberal-individualist societies. Why? Well, that's too big a question, probably, but the feeling of aloneness, the feelings of uselessness, powerlessness, isolation and the meaninglessness of life for many in the "west," is really not a lot different from "loss of honour". But generally throwing acid on your wife or killing your son-in-law are, not, thank heavens, seen as ways of restoring meaning and coherence in life in our countries.

Families, yes, the family is the most important project in the lives of probably most people. And no, it will be a week before Australians know what government we shall have. Last time it took 17 days. Was such a pleasure watching the Conservatives discovering that not everyone loved them.

Rob, yes, you are talking about my topic here. But instead of saying: "the project has very definitely shaped the virtues its proponents hold," I say the individuals express the virtues (or lack thereof) of the project. And in virtue ethics, a natural virtue which allows people to do bad things, which they would not do if they could exercise moral wisdom to control their actions, are imperfect, they are not really virtues. "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread" for example.


Andy Blunden
On 5/07/2016 7:25 PM, Carol Macdonald wrote:
Elinami and Andy

Perhaps, as a fellow African, I can tell Andy that this is definitely stronger in African than in Western societies. But I am going to go a step further. In totally Islamic societies (not for example UK or USA) there is even a higher, or perhaps I should say more virulent sense of honour, so families might commit honour killings, if they perceive the honour of the family to be sullied. As a woman I feel very strongly against the killing or burning or acid attacks on young women who want to choose their life partner.

I know we all feel a little sensitive about islamic issues right now, so perhaps we can move on to blood feuds in traditional societies (for example in Polynesia).

Any what is the status of the family as a project? It certainly takes its character from the larger culture of which it is part, but may be either fluid or completely rigid. Is it constructed anew with every wedding or partnership.


PS I think the Aus elections might be a case of two many "virtues" chasing the same electorate. I expect we will know the outcome today.

On 5 July 2016 at 08:14, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    I think this is true of *all* cultures, Elinami.


    Andy Blunden
    http://home.mira.net/~andy <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy>

    On 5/07/2016 4:08 PM, Elinami Swai wrote:

        Dear Andy. Coming from gender studies, the
        concepts of 'family honor,'
        and/or 'culture of honor' come to mind where a
        person's identity
        depends largely on family and culture.

        On 05/07/2016, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

            Comrade and friends, I need some help.

            I am setting about developing a new approach
            to virtue
            ethics. Virtues are everywhere taken to be
            attributes of a person's character; my aim is
            to make the
            starting point instead from virtues defined as
            attributes of a project, which you can take to
            mean "social
            context" or "system of activity" if you wish.
            I don't need
            advice about issues and problems of ethics,
            but it is in in
            the nature of virtue ethics that it always has
            implications for psychology as well as social
            theory, to the
            extent that I think I can make a great deal of
            progress by
            calling on psychological data.

            Can people point me to research(ers) about how
            a person's
            character changes with social context (e.g.
            home/work), any
            evidence of the well-known phenomenon in which
            a person
            promoted above the ability suffers a moral
            degeneration; any
            suitable and reliable data about the differing
            (not just preferences or cognition, but
            virtues) of people
            from one culture or another? or similar
            information about
            changes in a person's character following
            their emigration
            to another country?

            URLs appreciated, or whole books, I don't have
            access to a
            university library or JSTOR.



            Andy Blunden

Carol A Macdonald Ph.D (Edin)
Developmental psycholinguist
Honorary Research Fellow: Department of Linguistics, Unisa
alternative email address: tmacdoca@unisa.ac.za <mailto:tmacdoca@unisa.ac.za>