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Editorial: Spring Issue 2024

- By the Editor


Editorial: Spring Issue 2024

Welcome to our Spring issue. Spring—a season to rejoice at earth’s renewal, and to weep amid the rubble at new life awakening to hunger, fear, and violence.

Renewal in what we call the natural world is reproductive, cyclical, repetitive. The renewal effected by the irenic force, as I conceive it, is more creative. In connecting the origin of our work (survival) and its aim (human amelioration), it not only carries something of us forward, as a flower pollinates its successor, but also changes us in response to the world in which we act. It is rehumanising in two senses: keeping sight of the basic human needs we must satisfy to survive, and revising what it is to be human. In the irenic force these two components are bound together. We grow not only by taking from the world, but also by listening as it elicits care from us. What it takes from us in this way becomes—in our relation to the world—what we are.

In this issue, we’ve chosen to focus, but not exclusively, on the difficult subject of anthropodicy—the defence or vindication of humanity as a species. The term is less familiar than its theological counterpart, ‘theodicy’. Instead of vindicating an all-powerful, omnibenevolent god who allows evil to exist, an anthropodicy discovers in humankind some grounds to defend us, despite the harm we do or fail to prevent. The fact that we have never been so capable of good or harm—able to reward or punish ourselves infinitely—should make us consider carefully how we might frame such a defence.

Whether they directly address the special focus of this issue or not, all our contributors embody the irenic force that keeps humanity’s case always open; each piece of work being a door on which the world has knocked.


Mark-Alec Mellor