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Ethical Loneliness


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments List of Abbreviations Introduction 1. Ethical Loneliness 2. Repair 3. Hearing 4. Revision 5. Desert Epilogue Notes Index

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Stauffer examines difficult truths about the desire and potential for political forgiveness, transitional justice, and political reconciliation. Moving beyond a singular focus on truth commissions and legal trials, she considers more closely what is lost in the wake of oppression and violence, how selves and worlds are built and demolished, and who is responsible for re-creating lives after they are destroyed.

About the Author

Jill Stauffer is associate professor of philosophy and director of the concentration in peace, justice, and human rights at Haverford College. She is the coeditor (with Bettina Bergo) of Nietzsche and Levinas: "After the Death of a Certain God" and has published widely on issues of responsibility within and beyond legality.


A timely book-rarely has the fecundity of the Continental approach to ethics been so clearly and persuasively on display. -- Robert Bernasconi, Penn State University To read Ethical Loneliness is to undergo the page-turning yet profoundly uncomfortable experience of struggling to hear the fractured stories told by survivors. Jill Stauffer's voice leads us carefully and thoughtfully through an unsettling hell of testimonies, showing us how difficult it is for us to linger in the discomfort of hearing about violent injustice without rushing through the ugly parts, forgetting the hard parts, dismissing the odd parts, straightening out the chronology, watering down the anger, denying the complicity, enforcing forgiveness or victimhood, whitewashing the ending, and missing what is not said and what cannot be put into words. This book, or rather, this experience of listening, is destined to become, like Elaine Scarry's The Body in Pain, a classic text in the field. It is really that good. -- Linda Meyer, Quinnipiac University Stauffer's book breaks through legalistic approaches to mass violence and oppression to uncover the conditions of the repair of lives and worlds in human interdependence. Her bold claims for widely diffused reparative responsibilities are built on close discussions of how together we author-or destroy-selves and worlds. Her impressive blending of contemporary events and philosophical reflection reveals the wide scope of responsibility that implicates us in the repair of others' suffering in ways we are usually glad to ignore or resist. -- Margaret Urban Walker, Marquette University Our relationship to our past is shifting, multiple, and emotive. In Ethical Loneliness, Stauffer builds on this dialogic conception of the self over time to develop a communicative theory of justice as a 'reparative' mode of giving the past its due. Lucid, attentive, and nuanced, this scintillating and surprising work installs a finely filigreed protocol of listening, a duty of hearing, in the heart of law. -- Peter Goodrich, Cardozo School of Law Stauffer involves us in ways of being and of being-together that are imperative yet elusive. And while a ready resolution is neither offered nor possible, the book itself is an absorbing vade mecum. -- Peter Fitzpatrick, Birkbeck, University of London A small book with immense breadth and insight into the difficulties of and harms incurred through the process of political reconciliation in the aftermath of atrocity. APA Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy

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