George Iordanou Politics, Philosophy and (not much) Real Life
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heroism

What makes a hero? — the elephant in the room (part 5)

Previous posts: What makes a hero? — introduction (part 1) What makes a hero? — outcomes (part 2) What makes a hero? — thinking about motives (part 3) What makes a hero? — two types of motives (part 4) In this series of posts I try to make sense of what makes a hero. These posts are a record of my thoughts on the matter, and might not always be coherent. If you have feedback or thoughts you want to share, I would love to read them either in the comments below, or via email. This discussion is taking place in a room that has a big pink elephant at its centre, whom we have thus far ignored. The elephant screams that our understanding of human agency and the motivations that are so central to the analysis, have been abstracted so much that they do not describe human beings who, contrary to...

What makes a hero? — two types of motives (part 4)

Previous posts: What makes a hero? — introduction (part 1) What makes a hero? — outcomes (part 2) What makes a hero? — thinking about motives (part 3) In this series of posts I try to make sense of what makes a hero. These posts are a record of my thoughts on the matter, and might not always be coherent. If you have feedback or thoughts you want to share, I would love to read them either in the comments below, or via email. The earlier discussion on outcomes distinguished between outcomes in relation to the success or failure of the act — i.e. whether the children were saved from the burning school building — and the outcomes in terms of the personal detriment endured by the act-doer. A similar distinction is relevant in the discussion on motives. They can be divided into the motives...

What makes a hero? — thinking about motives (part 3)

Previous posts: What makes a hero? — introduction (part 1) What makes a hero? — outcomes (part 2) In this series of posts I try to make sense of what makes a hero. These posts are a record of my thoughts on the matter, and might not always be coherent. If you have feedback or thoughts you want to share, I would love to read them either in the comments below, or via email. We now turn to motives. By the end of the discussion we must be in position to consider whether our determination of the heroism attached to saving the schoolchildren from the burning building changes if the random bystander is replaced by a fireman. The parameters of the example remain the same. The only change is the actor. It is no longer a third-party, an unrelated by-stander that runs into the burning building. Now...

What makes a hero? — outcomes (part 2)

Previous post: What makes a hero? — introduction (part 1) In this series of posts I try to make sense of what makes a hero. These posts are a record of my thoughts on the matter, and might not always be coherent. If you have feedback or thoughts you want to share, I would love to read them either in the comments below, or via email. This is the second post on What makes a hero? Here, I will explore two scenaria in order to tease out our intuitions on outcomes; whether the outcomes of an act play a role in determining if the act is indeed heroic. In the first scenario, our hero is someone who enters into a burning school and saves the lives of two children who are trapped inside. If our rescuer is a random bystander who is unrelated to the children that are trapped in the burning school...

What makes a hero? — introduction (part 1)

In this series of posts I will try to make sense of what makes a hero. These posts are a record of my thoughts on the matter, and might not always be coherent. If you have feedback or thoughts you want to share, I would love to read them either in the comments below, or via email. I am always weary of people who call other people heroes. What does it mean anyway? That was, until recently, my immediate thought when confronted with a hero-type statement. My response was a product of performative conditioning. Simply put, when we observe the same phenomenon over and over again, we associate it with those that perform it, thus leaving the concept itself — heroism in this case — unexplored. In essence, the performative conditioning, the fallacy that I have been committing when confronted with...

George Iordanou Politics, Philosophy and (not much) Real Life

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