RELG271 Lecture 2: Lecture 2

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Lecture 2 Wednesday, September 9, 2015 - Sex and Vulnerability
Slide 1 - Vulnerability
Basic definition: open to wounding
Contemporary approaches:
Curse: vulnerability as a negative thing, vulnerability as harm, equates vulnerability with being
human [with human rights as the answer to
Choice:
Change: vulnerability in so far as we are being acted upon in a world that is transforming,
vulnerability means that we are going to experience change personal, environmental
Condition:
Slide 2 - Perspectives
Turner: Our existence is an embodied existence, with dangers in our environment that we are
aware. We have embodied encounters with a precarious world that are open to our interpretation.
Thus, how do we move and function within this precarity.
Gilson: Vulnerability is going to include a certain amount of helplessness that we cannot avoid.
Slide 3 Nussbaum
Trying to bring two concepts together: agency and vulnerability. Being human is to be agent in a
precarious world. Real human dignity is rooted in the ability to shape one’s life [through the
cooperation with others]. Emphasis on agency and acknowledging community.
Slide 4 Lactantius
Within this quote there is a notion of vulnerability that is not overtly negative. Belong is a core
response to vulnerability.
Slide 5 A Condition of Humanity
Nussbaum offers a positive conception of vulnerability. Vulnerability as an openness to the world
as an encounter through a physical encounter through our embodiment in a precarious environment.
We rely on institutions that address vulnerability [ex: family].
Slide 6/7 Facets of Vulnerability
Ontological reality: the fact of our embodiment [corporeal dimension of existence]
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