By Jalal Heirannia

Alphonso Lingis talks about “Irrevocable: A Philosophy of Mortality”

June 14, 2018

TEHRAN - Alphonso Lingis, professor emeritus of philosophy at Pennsylvania State University says six topics are of fundamental importance in the conduct of our lives.

He adds that “Each of us undergoes chance events, strokes of good or bad luck, that disrupt the programs and plans we pursue.”

Professor Alphonso Lingis in an interview Tehran Times says about his new book. Following is the full story:

Q: What has been your main question in the book of “Irrevocable: A Philosophy of Mortality”?

A: “Irrevocable” deals with six topics.

1). The weight of reality and the perception of weight. The shadows, reflections, halos, and reverberations that keep us captivated by the carpentry of things.

2) Our birth, the essential encounters in our lives, the crippling diseases and accidents, our death are determined by chance. What do we do when understanding determinism and decision fail us?  

3) In our culture we seek to manage emotions, sentiments, affects moods. What are the passions that dominated ancient cultures, and which we maintain, in our literature and culture and in our lives too?

4) What is the nature and role of belief, that is, commitment to the unverified and unverifiable?  

5) We demand justice in our institutions and societies. The Khmer Rouge trial and truth and reconciliation commissions confront us with the distinction and conflict between retributive and restorative justice.

6) When loss is absolute, we cannot recover what was lost or give meaning to the loss.  We do find rituals that recognize it and respond to it.

Q: What Hypothesis did you use to answer this question? What is your central argument?

A: These issues cannot be clarified simply by a priori argument.  Not only phenomenological, but also anthropological, and psychological resources are called up in view of thinking in new ways. The book takes up these issues in the concrete events, encounters, and places in which they arose.  

Q: What was the necessity of writing this book?

A: These six topics are of fundamental importance in the conduct of our lives. Each of us undergoes chance events, strokes of good or bad luck, that disrupt the programs and plans we pursue.

Each of us suffers wrongs that are not compensated for by institutions of justice.  Each of us suffers losses that cannot be recovered and that we cannot find meaning for.
 

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