Irony of the Other: Christian Ethics Beyond the MacIntyrian Subject

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Hilker, Eric, Religious Studies - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Mathewes, Charles, AS-Religious Studies, University of Virginia

This dissertation asks the question, “How might one become a person who can love neighbors well, particularly amid disruptions to one’s way of being in the world?” The answer, I argue, is that this way of being is something which, ironically, we cannot achieve on our own, but must receive from the neighbor. To become people who can love neigh- bors well we will need to: 1) inhabit a way of being where we are moved in our guts to love others; 2) be able to encounter others in a way that ironizes the self and acknowledges the other; and 3) be initiated into a sacramental way of being in the world, where meaning exists not solely in the head, but in a world where God’s presence in mundane realities calls us to act in love toward others. This project fails if it is simply a task of self-formation, where the world, and others in the world, are merely the setting for one to become the best sort of person. Becoming those who love neighbors well happens not by doing things in order to become such person, but, by receiving ourselves from others in radical hope.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
moral formation, Good Samaritan, otherness, hope, irony, encounter, subjectivity, sacrament
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