Associate Professor Marguerite La Caze
Marguerite La Caze is Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Queensland. She has research interests and numerous publications in European and feminist philosophy especially concerning questions of ethics, politics, and aesthetics, including philosophy and film.
Her publications include Wonder and Generosity: Their Role in Ethics and Politics (SUNY, 2013), The Analytic Imaginary (Cornell, 2002), Integrity and the Fragile Self, with Damian Cox and Michael Levine (Ashgate, 2003) and articles in Contemporary Political Theory, Culture, Theory and Critique, Derrida Today, Hypatia, Law, Culture, and the Humanities, Parrhesia, Philosophy and Social Criticism, Philosophy Compass, Philosophy Today, Political Theory, Simone de Beauvoir Studies, Symposium and other journals, and book collections, including on the work of Hannah Arendt, Simone de Beauvoir, Jacques Derrida, Sigmund Freud, Luce Irigaray, Immanuel Kant, Michèle Le Dœuff, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Iris Marion Young.
She held an ARC Australian Research Fellowship (2003-2007) and currently holds an ARC Discovery grant ‘Ethical restoration after communal violence: a philosophical account.
Judging in times of crisis: Wonder, admiration, and emulation
What kind of a role can emotions such as wonder and admiration play in times of crisis?
This lecture compares wonder and admiration. I understand wonder in seventeenth century philosopher René Descartes’ sense as a response to something unfamiliar. In admiration, by contrast, we must regard the objects of our judgement as possessing valuable traits. In ordinary times, it may be immoral acts that stand out as unfamiliar and so provoke wonder. However, in times of crisis, as Hannah Arendt argued, it is the moral that will be extraordinary. In these circumstances, admiration is a response that can enable us to regard extraordinary acts as valuable moral exemplars and emulate them. The lecture will examine our motivation to emulate people we admire, discussed in a recent book by Linda Zagzebski, and show how we can admire a person such as Nelson Mandela without necessarily being motivated to emulate them. Conversely, we can have ambivalent feelings mixed with our admiration and still be moved to emulate others. The complexity of the relation between these three emotions and attitudes—wonder, admiration, and emulation—means that while they can contribute to resistance to immorality in times of crisis, they are not entirely trustworthy.
For more information about this presentation, to be given in Launceston and Hobart as the 2017 James Martineau Memorial Lecture, see the event pages:
Judging in times of crisis: Wonder, admiration, and emulation | Launceston
Judging in times of crisis: Wonder, admiration, and emulation | Hobart