Friday, August 15, 2008

Attentiveness (quote from Harriet Harris)

"Janet Martin Soskice ... draws on Iris Murdoch's notion of 'attention', to express the idea of 'a just and loving gaze directed upon an individual reality' (Soskice 1992:60). Drawing principally on Murdoch and Charles Taylor's work, Soskice shows that paying attention is a moral effort, as when a parent attends to a child and so 'tries to "see more" in Murdoch's sense, or to be "more fully there", in Taylor's' (Soskice 1992:70-1) ...
Soskice seeks emphases within Christianity that can yield a more engaged notion of both God and humanity. She suggests that God looks on us with the gaze of attentiveness ...
But most philosophy of religion works with a model of God and a parallel model of the rational agent, as beings who enjoy an ideal vantage point by virtue of being detached; able to rise above it all ... Now I would like to advance a stronger claim, that being attentive rather than detached not only takes moral effort, as Soskice says (Soskice 1992:70), but that it is conducive to advancing truth." (Harris 2005:55-56)
-- Harris, Harriet. 2005. On understanding that the struggle for truth is moral and spiritual. In Gender, religion and diversity: Cross-cultural perspectives (eds) Ursula King and Tina Beattie, 51-64. London and New York: Continuum.

-- Soskice, Janet Martin. 1992. Love and attention. In Philosophy, religion and the spiritual life (ed.) Michael McGhee. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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