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Accepted Paper:

Shaping Ethics and Philosophical Practice as Dwelling  
Lydia Ginzburg (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines how ethics is shaped in two groups of philosophical practice. Practitioners of this emerging field aim to transform philosophy and embed it in everyday life. Through a concept of dwelling the paper suggests ethics is integrated in practice and subjectivity shaping.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I will examine the shaping of ethics as it manifests itself during the retreats of philosophical practice. I see the shaping of ethics as being more than “a modality of social action or of being in the world” as suggested by Lambek (2010: 10). Zigon (2014: 750-751) criticized this suggestion as ambiguous, rising to the Durkheimian equation of social with moral. He proposes instead a concept of dwelling that is continuous and requires an involved being-in-the-world, “to acknowledge that to be human is always to be concernedly intertwined in a world with others, and this being-together always manifests differently.” (2014: 758).

I study this intertwining through an emergent phenomenon of philosophical practice, a field that sprang out in Germany and USA in the early 1980’s striving to defy social anomie and alienation. This paper is based on fieldwork I conducted during 2018-2019 group retreats in Italy and Norway to understand how practitioners transform philosophy into everyday practice.

I argue that philosophical practice presents itself as an ethical endeavor that evolves continuously connecting different spheres of human existence like philosophical knowledge and everyday experience. Rather than distinctive guidelines, retreats offer an integrative being-in-the world, “inter- and intra-active” openness of dwelling (Zigon, 2014:758) that combines “ethical spirit” (Das, 2015: 116) with knowledge and practice. I propose that a different combination of ethics, knowledge and practice in each of the two groups has a unique impact on both the shaping of practice but also the self-making of the retreat participants.

Panel P014b
The Local Lives of Moral Concepts. Ethnographic Explorations of the Everyday Shaping of Morality and Ethics II
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -