Richard Eldridge

Plato, Žižek, and Herzog on Courage

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Informations and abstract

Keywords: Courage, Knowledge, Hope, Meaning, Ethics.

This essay juxtaposes Herzog’s work with Plato’s account of courage as a virtue, according to which courage in the end reduces implausibly to knowledge of the good, and with ´i¸ek’s account, according to which knowledge plays little if any role in informing or sustaining either meaningful activity or hope. Herzog marks out a productive way between these two extreme positions. In Signs of Life (1968) and Encounters at the End of the World (2007), Herzog focuses on human beings who are captivated by disruptive images that pull them away from relatively empty commercial life, and he produces such images himself. These human beings and these images help us to see how we might pursue more meaningful life courageously, in a way that is founded on neither doctrinal knowledge nor arbitrary will.

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