ERIC Number: EJ777445
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Dialogue as the Interplay of Otherness and Shared Humanity
Fowers, Blaine J.; Davidov, Barbara J.
American Psychologist, v62 n7 p705-706 Oct 2007
Presents a reply by B. Fowers and B. Davidov to Islam's comments regarding their article. Islam noted that virtues are often presented as universally valid character strengths, yet formulations of virtues are always embedded in a particular cultural context, a point we took pains to make in our article. We focus our response on Islam's important suggestion that this tension between universal human characteristics and the particulars of cultural context is indissoluble. Whereas he suggested this tension leads to contradiction and paradox, we see it as a fertile dialectic. The virtue of openness to the other is also subject to the same tension of abstract formulation and particular application. Although we formulated this virtue in a very general way, any instantiation of it would be shaped by the particulars of the cultural context and the situation in which it is exercised. We introduced the concept of dialogue because it is constituted not only by differences between individuals or groups but even more fundamentally by the dialectical relationship between those differences in cultural particularities and the universal human capacities for reason, curiosity, and social engagement, among others. Dialogue acknowledges the indissoluble otherness one finds in those culturally different from oneself, and yet real interchange can only occur because participants in dialogue exercise the cognitive flexibility characteristic of human beings and recognize a shared humanity with the other.
Descriptors: Cultural Context
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
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