Volume 17, Issue 1, 2014
What Is Radical Philosophy Today?
Tim R. Johnston
Being Radically Polite
Caring for Our Fractured Discourse
There is little doubt that our political discourse has become more polarized over the last thirty years. I argue that as radical thinkers we can turn to politeness as one way to begin working past this partisan and adversarial atmosphere. I define politeness as a self-conscious appreciation of the role of social convention in repairing and maintaining our relationships. The first section compares politeness and decency to highlight what is unique about politeness. The second section argues that politeness can be considered a form of care. The third and final section describes how radical theory can use politeness to start initiating healthier dialogue.