Posted by: Gray | December 16, 2015

The Ways of Peace: A Philosophy of Peace as Action

Why does the concept of peace so often get defined in a logically negative way, in terms of what it is not – not war, violence, conflict . . . ?

And why can we say in English that nations are warring in the Middle East but cannot say that “Nations are peaceing in Scandanavia”?

This book provides a systematic account of how the meaning of peace has been obscured in our dominant culture — in something like the way that Heidegger argued that the meaning of Being has been obscured. And it provides a detailed account of how  practices of Quaker communal discernment, Harvard style “principled negotiation” and Gandhian satyagraha can provide paradigms for developing an alternative culture in which peace is understood in rich and practical terms as an activity we can perform to create an alternative world of peace.

Here is a link to download the book as a pdf: 00fullversionwaysofpeaceword

From the Preface:

“We can conceive of peace in many different ways, and these differences are related to a variety of assumptions and practices we can adopt in our culture. This book is about those differences.

Part I describes the ways in which we usually talk about peace. It argues that our conception is fundamentally obscure. We do not know what peace is and we do not know how to promote it. Part II develops an explanation of how peace has been obscured. It has been obscured by a network of beliefs and institutions in our culture. Part III critically evaluates some key parts of this cultural web and argues that there is an alternative cluster of assumptions and practices which we ought to adopt. It is a cluster which is intrinsically better—regardless of whatever it may imply about peace. Part IV argues that it happens to imply that we should think of peace as an activity—a practice we can cultivate at high levels of excellent performance.

This book is intended for a broad audience that includes parents, diplomats, social scientists, lawyers, labor/business mediators, social activists, philosophers, military officers, educators, theologians, and politicians. Its style is meant to provide good reading that is illustrated with meaningful examples. Its arguments aim to be intellectually compelling without being academic.”

 

 


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