The moral and political life of thoughtfulness


Abstract
This paper offers a discussion, with examples and illustrations from both academia and the arts, of thoughtfulness, i.e., roughly, the ability and willingness to widen the scope of (or, sometimes, change) that which one finds insightful and that which one finds valuable. The paper argues that the exercise of thoughtfulness can help us avoid underestimating the demands of moral and political life. It does so because, unlike other approaches to the good (individual or communal), it does not neglect to acknowledge the openness of the future, i.e., the sense in which we cannot foresee who and what will demand our care and concern. Following a general discussion of thoughtfulness, the paper turns to consider implications for the image and practice of moral and political philosophy.
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