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"I am never able to seek for the good or exercise the virtues only qua individual… we all approach our own circumstances as bearers of a particular social identity. I am someone's son or daughter, a citizen of this or that city. I belong to this clan, that tribe, this nation." – Alasdair MacIntyre
"Hence, what is good for me has to be the good for someone who inhabits these roles. I inherit from the past of my family, my city, my tribe, my nation a variety of debts, inheritances, expectations and obligations." – Alasdair MacIntyre
This lecture discuses obligations associated with our social identity. Questions arose of patriotism and debts to family. It is easier to feel a great obligation to your own community than to others. I believe this is mainly due to our capacity to empathize. It is easier to connect to someone through a shared experience; empathy becomes less relevant because we don't need to imagine the experience of another. Empathy is required when they have experienced a situation that is alien to us. We have to imagine the experience and this is a difficult task. There are so many images of suffering in the news and we can cope with exposure because it is a situation that is so removed from our own lives. Sometimes we need an experience in order to understand, it isn't simply a capacity to feel for another. Many of us are capable of a profound feeling for another human being, understanding their experiences is something far more difficult.
Justice by Harvard University http://www.justiceharvard.org/
To read my thoughts on earlier lectures click on the label at the bottom of the blog that reads Justice by Harvard University.