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Deep Conflicts

Deep Conflicts

(p.9) 2 Deep Conflicts
Human Predicaments
John Kekes
University of Chicago Press

This chapter is about the standard view according to which the key to coping with conflicts depends on self-knowledge. In the Shilluk evaluative framework conflicts have a central and valued place as the means of sustaining the tribe and self-knowledge is not valued at all. Self-knowledge is reasonably valued in our context, but even here there are many who live as they should without it. According to the standard view, self-knowledge is a necessary condition of all reasonable lives in all evaluative frameworks. The case of Shilluks shows that this is not so. The standard view is mistaken because it is exclusivist, parochial, and unreasonably optimistic. Self-knowledge is one reasonable guide among others in one evaluative framework, but not in some others. We may reasonably value it for ourselves, but it is unreasonable to suppose that it must be valued in all reasonable evaluative frameworks.

Keywords:   conflicts, self knowledge, evaluative framework, personal attitude, standard view, Shilluks, exclusivist mistake, parochial mistake, optimistic mistake

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