On Calmness

Philosophia 45 (4):1613-1619 (2017)
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Abstract

This article proposes that the mood or affective attitude of calmness consists in not striving to control things that are beyond our control, such as, first, inalterable conditions of our life; second, other people, at least when we regard them as autonomous agents who must not be manipulated or rhetorically persuaded but should be convinced by arguments; and third, ourselves. Focusing on the second phenomenon, argumentation or, more generally, rational action, it is argued that one’s rational conduct towards others is unavoidably based on hope or, as Kant puts it, on rational faith. Hence, calmness is explained as the practical attitude of trusting that the course of events beyond our control does not affect the meaning of a rational life, but rather is definitive of it.

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