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Cooper, R. (1996). What we take for granted. Free Associations, 6(4):530-550.

(1996). Free Associations, 6(4):530-550

What we take for granted

Robin Cooper

I proposed the title ‘What we take for granted’ with two different inflections in mind. First of all, what do we, in the Philadelphia Association (PA), take for granted? What do we, for example, in our conversation with one another, take for granted that other comparable organizations might not take for granted. Or what—for it comes to the same thing—might they take for granted that we do not. In framing this question as I do, I am of course presuming that—although we might not present a common front—there are shared assumptions that constitute some sort of common ground upon which we pitch our respective stalls. By the end of today you may feel that I am not entitled to take this for granted.

Secondary: What do we all take for granted? What we take for granted is—almost by definition—commonplace. The ordinary, the everyday, the familiar. And it is at this point that an interrelationship between these two questions becomes apparent.

For, from the pre-Socratics—I am thinking for example of the Heraclitus fragment: ‘even here the Gods are present’—philosophy has privileged the commonplace, the place that is in common, as the site of disclosure. Neither Gods nor ethics are to be sought in some metaphysical topos, a separate region, but rather, as Heidegger puts it ‘at this common place.’

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