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1. The Acorn: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Greg Moses Holding Firm to Nonviolence in Spirit, Theory, and Practice
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special feature
2. The Acorn: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Rajmohan Gandhi Nationhood Today in the US and India: Learning with Gandhi
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The drives of white nationalism in the US and Hindu nationalism in India are found to be significantly similar in aim and methods. Witnessed in two large nations that are alike too in diversity and in constitutions, the two drives violate statutory norms as also the norms of democracy and equality acknowledged by the world. Contrasting these drives with Gandhi’s vision of partnership and mutual respect among communities and races is illuminating. It may be seen, in addition, that both white nationalism and Hindu nationalism rest on a falsification of history. Stirring up and employing a sentiment of majority victimhood, and another sentiment of dislike for the minority “other,” the two drives present a challenge to all who regard humanity as one and human beings as equal.
3. The Acorn: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Andrew Fiala Philosophical Peace and Methodological Nonviolence
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This article considers the nonviolent commitment of philosophy, arguing that “methodological nonviolence” is a normative ideal guiding philosophical practice and that rational dialogue is connected with nonviolence. The paper presents a transcendental argument about the form of nonviolent communication. Even when philosophers argue in favor of justified violence, they make such arguments within a nonviolent practice. The argument is grounded in historical references to ways that philosophers have clarified the philosophical commitment to methodological nonviolence, the ideal unity of means and ends, and the ideal community of inquiry, which is a model of positive peace. While Socrates is treated as a paradigmatic example of methodological nonviolence, Tolstoy’s work is presented as a crucial historical turning point from implicit methodological nonviolence to the more explicit forms that may be found in the works of Jane Addams, Mohandas K. Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
book features
4. The Acorn: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Andrew Fitz-Gibbon, Danielle Poe, Sanjay Lal, William C. Gay, Mechthild Nagel What Would Make For A Better World?: Andrew Fitz-Gibbon, Author of Pragmatic Nonviolence: Working toward a Better World, Meets Critics
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Andrew Fitz-Gibbon in Pragmatic Nonviolence: Working Toward a Better World argues that a principled form of pragmatism—pragmatism shaped by the theory of nonviolence—is the best hope for our world. He defines nonviolence as “a practice that, whenever possible seeks the well-being of the Other, by refusing to use violence to solve problems, and by having an intentional commitment to lovingkindness.” In the first part of the book, Fitz-Gibbon asks what a better world would look like. In the second part, he covers what is the greatest obstacle to that better world: violence. In the third part, he examines philosophical theories of nonviolence. The fourth part examines pragmatism as a philosophy of “what works” (William James) through the lens of the principle of maximizing well-being through nonviolent practice. In response to Fitz-Gibbon’s work, critic Danielle Poe asks what a nonviolence response looks like to the Other whom we have wronged and wonders how nonviolence responds to systemic violence. Sanjay Lal asks whether pragmatism and nonviolence can be synthesized given the popular conception that the pragmatic possible seems at odds with the ideal of absolute nonviolence. William C. Gay affirms much of the text and suggests its uses in teaching. Mechthild Nagel wonders if Fitz-Gibbon’s pragmatic nonviolence is too anthropocentric and questions the absence of a consideration of systemic violence in the criminal justice system. Fitz-Gibbon then responds to the critics.
5. The Acorn: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Jennifer Kiefer Fenton, Marilyn Fischer Evolutionary Inclusion in the Philosophy of Jane Addams: A Review Essay of Fischer’s Evolutionary Theorizing, with a Reply by Fischer
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In this review essay, Jennifer Kiefer Fenton examines Marilyn Fischer’s first of a planned 3-volume project on the philosophy of Jane Addams. Fischer’s volume on Jane Addams’s Evoutionary Theorizing brings close attention to source materials that Addams used for her classic work, Democracy and Social Ethics. As a result, Fischer is able to demonstrate that Addams was deeply engaged with social and ethical concepts that were undergoing transformation in the wake of Darwin’s evolutionary theory. Fenton’s review of Fischer’s volume argues that readers will find new groundworks for understanding why Addams resisted individualistic morality and preferred to use terms like association, cooperation, perplexity, propinquity, motives, sympathy, social ethics, and of course, democracy. In reply to Fenton’s review, Fischer affirms key findings and describes historical reasons why a more coherent recapitulation of Addams’s evolutionary method of ethical deliberation would be difficult to achieve.
6. The Acorn: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Sahar Heydari Fard Complexity Theory in the Lived Experience of a Seasoned Activist: Review of Shut it Down: Stories from a Fierce, Loving Resistance
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7. The Acorn: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
David Boersema Imperatives for Nonviolent Revolution: Review of Revolutionary Nonviolence: Concepts, Cases and Controversies
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8. The Acorn: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Stephen J. Pidwysocky Healing the World through Revolutionary Love: Review of Revolutionary Love: A Political Manifesto to Heal and Transform the World
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9. The Acorn: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
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10. The Acorn: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Greg Moses Acknowledgments
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11. The Acorn: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1/2
Anthony Sean Neal Thurman and King as Transformative Philosophers of Life, Existence, and Community Development During Times of Unchecked Oppression
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12. The Acorn: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1/2
Anthony Sean Neal, Michael Barber, Eddie O’Byrn Thurman’s Philosophical De-Mystified Mysticism: Author Meets Critics: Anthony Sean Neal, Author of Howard Thurman’s Philosophical Mysticism Meets Critics Michael Barber and Eddie O’Byrn
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In this author-meets critics discussion of Howard Thurman’s Philosophical Mysticism, Anthony Sean Neal argues that Thurman’s work requires systematic recognition of how he was rooted firmly within the Modern Era of the African American Freedom Struggle (1896–1975). Michael Barber suggests that Thurman may be understood in contrast to Levinas on two counts. Whereas Thurman develops the duty to love from within the one who must love, Levinas grasps the origin of love’s duty in the command of the one who is to be loved. And while Thurman’s mysticism yearns for oneness, Levinas warns that oneness is ethically problematic. Eddie O'Byrn challenges the symbolic validity of calling love a weapon, and asks why the book has not treated Thurman’s relations to Gandhi or King. Neal defends a provisional usage of the term weapon in relation to love and offers some preliminary considerations of Thurman’s relation to Gandhi and King, especially in the symbolic significance of "the dream."
13. The Acorn: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1/2
Anthony Sean Neal “A Fulfillment So High”: New Directions in African American Philosophy for the Study of Howard Thurman and Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Scholarship on Martin Luther King, Jr., and more recent works on Howard Thurman, have become widely appreciative of their contributions to a struggle for Black liberation. This study explicates how the philosophies of Thurman and King also contribute to a universal theme of self-transformation. To be sure, the challenge of self-transformation is aggravated by the oppressive circumstances faced by Black persons in a racist society; however, the resources offered by Thurman and King for personal transformation should be relevant to persons almost regardless of circumstance. This study presents four concepts shared in the personal-transformation philosophies of Thurman and King: (1) Existential Transformation, (2) Self-Altered Destiny, (3) Self Examination, and (4) Rejection of Irrelevance. These four concepts provide a new framework for reading Thurman’s and King’s writings in tandem with a view towards self-transformation and demonstrate why a philosophy of the Black experience would be of interest, and have benefit, for anyone.
14. The Acorn: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1/2
Larry Perry Beyond Black Churches: Toward an Understanding of the Black Spiritual Left, featuring Du Bois, Bethune, Thurman, and Black Lives Matter
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Drawing upon Leigh Schmidt’s work on the “spiritual left,” this article presents a genealogy of the Black Spiritual Left featuring W. E. B. Du Bois, Mary McLeod Bethune, Howard Thurman, and Black Lives Matter activists Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors. Black Spiritual Leftists are defined as Black figures who separated from or were not part of Black churches and yet took on a spiritual orientation important to their progressive activism. Their faith is Spiritual, but not necessarily religious. In its most recent manifestation, the Black Spiritual Left argues—in opposition to some Black Church pastors—that defense of Black lives requires respect for marginalized Black women, LGBTQ, and criminalized Black men and boys.
15. The Acorn: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1/2
J. Edward Hackett Kingian Personalism, Moral Emotions, and Emersonian Perfectionism: A Response to Paul C. Taylor
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In “Moral Perfectionism,” an essay in To Shape a New World, Paul C. Taylor explicitly mentions and openly avoids King’s personalism while advancing a type of Emersonian moral perfectionism motivated by a less than adequate reconstruction of King’s project. In this essay, I argue this is a mistake on two fronts. First, Taylor’s moral perfectionism gives pride of place to shame and self-loathing where the work of King makes central use of love. Second, by evading the personalist King, Taylor misses the importance of love as foundational to King’s theory of community, the Beloved Community. In effect, Taylor engages in hermeneutic violence regarding King’s work and self-description as a personalist. I offer an account of King’s love informed by personalism that better situates love and shows why it is central to King’s philosophy. In conclusion I argue the following: Love is a type of orientation, attitude, and standpoint one can take in relation to another person. Philia and eros forms of love are contingent and conditional. Agapic love opens up persons to see the eternal dignity we all possess and is restorative and generative of community. The Holy Spirit that animates King’s conception of history is made manifest or hindered by the choice to act on the agapic principle of love that animates the cosmos. In the end, I suggest that Taylor’s perfectionist insights might be applied to a supplemental development of Kingian moral philosophy in the direction of a fuller virtue ethics.
16. The Acorn: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1/2
Paul C. Taylor Reading King’s Personalism, Or Not: A Reply to Professor Hackett
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17. The Acorn: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1/2
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18. The Acorn: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1/2
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19. The Acorn: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Greg Moses Between Gandhi 150 and Sept. 11, 2021: Concepts of Peace Meet Pandemic, Black Lives Matter, and Winter Disaster
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20. The Acorn: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Douglas Allen, Sanjay Lal, Karsten Struhl Gandhi for the Twenty-First Century: Author Meets Critics: Douglas Allen, Author of Gandhi After 9/11, Meets Critics Sanjay Lal and Karsten Struhl
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In this author-meets-critics dialogue, Douglas Allen, author of argues that Gandhi-informed philosophies and practices, when creatively reformulated and applied, are essential for developing positions that are ethical, nonviolent, truthful, and sustainable, providing resources and hope for confronting our ‘Gandhi after 9/11’ crises. Critics Sanjay Lal and Karsten Struhl applaud Allen’s demonstration that Gandhi’s nonviolence is serious and broadly adaptable to the twenty-first century. Yet, Lal poses two philosophical challenges, arguing first that the nonviolent message of the Bhagavad Gita is perhaps more essential than Allen allows. Second, Lal raises difficulties involved in placing the needs of others first, especially in response to terrorism. Struhl wonders if the Gita is not more violent than Gandhi or Allen represent it to be. Struhl also questions whether relative claims are always resolved in the direction of Absolute Truth, as Gandhi and Allen assert. Finally, critic Struhl wonders how we can restrain institutions from escalating cycles of violence once we grant Gandhi-based exceptions that would allow violence to suppress terrorism. Against Lal’s objections, Allen defends a more open-ended reading of the Gita and agrees that our service to the needs of others cannot go so far as to embrace their terrorism. In response to Struhl, Allen agrees that there are indeed problems with a nonviolent reading of the Gita, but there are resources to support Gandhi’s view. Likewise, regarding relations between our limited truths and the Absolute, Allen grants that Struhl has identified real problems but that a final defense is possible, especially when we consider motivational factors. As for limiting cycles of violence, Allen argues that a Gandhi-informed use of violence implies considerations that limit its use.