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Vocation across the AcademyA New Vocabulary for Higher Education$
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David S. Cunningham

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190607104

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190607104.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 January 2021

The Conflicts in Our Callings

The Conflicts in Our Callings

The Anguish (and Joy) of Willing Several Things

(p.44) 2 The Conflicts in Our Callings
Vocation across the Academy

Jason A. Mahn

Oxford University Press

The work of vocational reflection and discernment typically leads to a recognition that several paths are possible, and that these may be in competition with one another. As recent studies suggest, college graduates often follow winding and complicated paths that are not always directly traceable to their undergraduate programs of study. Moreover, some paths in life will be rendered impossible when other paths are chosen. How should students (and their advisors) face this reality? This chapter suggests that the ancient category of tragedy has something to teach us here, and that we should not be too eager to find easy resolutions to the conflicts among our various callings. Nor is this problem resolved if one particular calling stands out as “higher” (or even of divine origin). The chapter offers an extended case study to illustrate the problems and possibilities of coming to grips with the conflicts among one’s callings.

Keywords:   vocation, calling, tragedy, conflicting callings, Martha Nussbaum, Soren Kierkegaard, binding of Isaac, virtue

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