The Paradox of Power and Weakness : Levinas and an Alternative Paradigm for Psychology / Edition 1

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Offers an alternative paradigm for psychology, one that reflects Levinas's criticism of a self-centered notion of identity. Reveals the secret of an "authentic" altruism through a phenomenology of both power and weakness, and of the paradoxes of the weakness of power and the power of weakness.
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Editorial Reviews

Kunz (psychology, Seattle U.) offers his interpretation of the ethical phenomenology of Emmanuel Levinas and how it relates to individual responsibility for the community. Questioning Western egocentrism, he shows how the analyses of hagiography, cynicism, and limits on altruistic behavior by radical altruism can contribute to a psychology of ethical responsibility for social sciences. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791438909
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1998
  • Series: SUNY Series, Alternatives in Psychology
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.53 (d)

Table of Contents



Part I: Psychology's Anomaly and an Alternative Paradigm

Chapter One: Radical Altruism: An Anomaly to Modern Psychology

A real distinction between altruism and self-interest

Psychology's contribution to the cynicism of modern ideologies

Psychology: A psukhology as well as an egology

Reflection on social problems shows the paradoxical

Statement of the paradox

The paradox of the power of weakness

Quick survey of ethical theories

The paradox of the weakness of power

The Itinerary

Chapter Two: An Alternative Paradigm: The Philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas

The psukhe (breath, spirit, soul) is the-Other-in-me

Six fundamental distinctions:

Totality and infinity

Need and desire

Willful activity and radical passivity

Self-initiated freedom and invested freedom

Social equality and ethical inequality

The said and saying

Part II: The Egology of Power and Weakness

Chapter Three: Power and the Power of Power

Phenomenological method: disclosing and declaring

Power and the power of power at three psychological levels

Cognitive power: intelligence for understanding

Behavioral power: exerted effort for success

Affective Power: satisfaction for happiness

How power empowers power


Chapter Four: Weakness and the Weakness of Weakness

Phenomenological method: exposing and accusing

Weakness and the weakness of weakness at three levels

Cognitive weakness: ignorance for bad choices

Behavioral weakness: lazy and cowardly for failure

Affective weakness: dissatisfaction for suffering

How weakness weakens its weakness


Part III: The Psukhology of the Paradoxical

Chapter Five: The Weakness of Power

Phenomenological method: being exposed and confessing

The weakness of power

The Gyges Complex: self-righteous and obsessive

The Zeus Complex: manipulative and compulsive

The Narcissus Complex: self-indulgent and addictive

How power weakens power


Chapter Six: The Power of Weakness

Phenomenological method: listening to, being touched, and responding

The power of weakness

Simplicity: the gift of self-skepticism for attentive understanding

Humility: the gift of self-substitution for obedient service

Patience: the gift of self-sacrifice for compassion

The origin and direction of the self

How the weakness of the Other empowers the self and empowers the Other


Part IV: The Paradox of Community

Interlude: Social justice Based on Radical Altruism

The appeal to hagiology: Edith Wyschogrod

The cynicism of ideology: Peter Sloterdijk

The limits to altruism: Roger Burggraeve

Chapter Seven: The Power of Community

Phenomenological method: community communicates and assigns responsibilities

Communities understood by using the three levels of the psukhe: cognition, behavior, affect

Educational community

Political community

Commercial community

The power of the Common Good in schools, governments, and businesses





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