In this introduction to part 4 of the Common Knowledge symposium “Peace by Other Means,” the journal's editor assesses the argument made by Peace, the spokesperson of Erasmus in his Querela Pacis (1521), that the desire to impute and avenge wrongs against oneself is insatiable and at the root of both individual and social enmities. He notes that, in a symposium about how to resolve and prevent enmity, most contributions have to date expressed caveats about how justice and truth must take precedence over peace, how recovery from ill treatment may be impossible, how quietism is not a moral option, and how realism demands a national policy and a personal strategy of, at best, contingent forgiveness. He concedes that the attitudes of those opposed to quietism are healthy but suggests that there may be goods worthier than health of human devotion. This essay concludes that the main differences between what it terms “judgmental” and “irenic” regimes are disagreements over anthropology and metaphysics. The presumptions that truths are objectively knowable and that human beings are moral and rational agents characterize judgmental regimes; irenic regimes are characterized by disillusionment with those assumptions.

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