On Becoming Better Human Beings: Six Stories to Live By

What are the conditions required for becoming better human beings? What are our limitations and possibilities? I understand “becoming better” as a combined improvement process bringing persons “up from” a negative condition and “up to” a positive one. Today there is a tendency to understand improvement in a one-sided way as a movement up to the mastery of cognitive skills, neglecting the negative conditions that can make these skills mis-educative. I therefore tell six stories in the Western tradition about conditions for a combined improvement process. The first three stories belong to our cultural ABC: an Aristotelian story about moral wisdom which brings people up from being enslaved by passions and up to a good life of virtues; a Biblical story about God’s word bringing listeners up from a self-centred life and up into creative work as God’s fellow workers, and a short Cave story by Plato about liberation—up from living by common illusions and up to enlightenment from what is perfectly good. The subsequent three stories interpret and actualise these basic stories in different ways: a story about moral wisdom and divine love (Thomas Aquinas), a story about individual freedom and rationality (Immanuel Kant), and a story about the love that builds us up as equal human beings (Søren Kierkegaard). These stories may directly guide us adults—and indirectly the children and youth who learn from our examples—when we struggle to become better human beings
Keywords Upbringing  Stories  Moral improvement  Moral wisdom  Upbuilding  Unconditional love
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11217-012-9321-8
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 26,188
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Whose Justice? Which Rationality?Alasdair MacIntyre - 1988 - University of Notre Dame Press.
Practical Philosophy.Immanuel Kant - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Critique of the Power of Judgment.Immanuel Kant - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.

View all 30 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
“Upbuilding Examples” for Adults Close to Children.Stein M. Wivestad - 2013 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 32 (5):515-532.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
8 The Evolution of Knowledge.David Papineau - 2000 - In Peter Carruthers & A. Chamberlain (eds.), Evolution and the Human Mind. Cambridge University Press. pp. 170.
The Conception of Logos as the Foundation of Human Dignity.Fatma Pinar Canevi - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 10:11-19.
Persons, Human Beings, and Respect.Peter Baumann - 2007 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 1 (2):5-17.
The Art of Becoming Human: Morality in Kant and Confucius.Katrin Froese - 2008 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 7 (3):257-268.
Genetic Destinies.Peter Little (ed.) - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
Radical Cognitive Limitation.Jeff McMahan - 2009 - In Kimberley Brownlee & Adam Cureton (eds.), Disability and Disadvantage. Oxford University Press.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

27 ( #185,551 of 2,154,061 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

14 ( #36,275 of 2,154,061 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums