(1) Sycophantic submission to received ideas and admired people.

(2) Recognition of the particular, even though it is uncomfortable or difficult, as a starting point for caritas, with its caring obligation and engagement, and for encounter, the act of recognising something on its own terms. Deference, or creative deference, accepts the qualities of the subject—a work of art, a tradition, an ecology, a person—despite its dissonance with easy current values.

The two meanings of deference are not complementary, but rather in direct opposition to each other, with the first being so dominant that it obscures the possibility of the second. Nonetheless, it is the second meaning which is defended in Lean Logic.D9


Related entries:

Humility, Calibration, Character, Ideology, Intuition, Manners.

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David Fleming
Dr David Fleming (2 January 1940 – 29 November 2010) was an economist, historian and writer, based in London. He was among the first to reveal the possibility of peak oil's approach and invented the influential TEQs scheme, designed to address this and climate change. He was also a significant figure in the development of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement and the New Economics Foundation, as well as a Chairman of the Soil Association. His wide-ranging independent analysis culminated in two critically acclaimed books, Lean Logic and Surviving the Future. A film about his perspective and legacy - The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation? - was released in 2019, directed by BAFTA-winning director Peter Armstrong. For more information, including on Lean Logic, click the little globe below!

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