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Vulnerability and finitude

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-L113-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

Power has always been a central category of political thought and theory; its counterparts, powerlessness or vulnerability, and more generally finitude, have seemingly been much less discussed. Yet finitude has been a theme for many writers, particularly on metaphysical and epistemological topics, who emphasize that claims about human knowledge cannot presuppose that we command a God’s-eye view of ourselves or the world; while vulnerability has been a theme in ethical and political philosophy, challenging idealized ‘models of man’ that take exaggerated views of human capacities and autonomy, and which overlook the mundane realities of dependence, poverty and frailty.

Citing this article:
O'Neill, Onora. Vulnerability and finitude, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-L113-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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