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Balance has no meaning for a politics that is merely the continuation of war by other means. Both religious zealots and defenders of scientific fact declare a monopoly on truth and the moral law, while radicals are powerless to resist since they have lost faith that ethics can be anything but arbitrary. Meanwhile, insane bureaucracy devastates life while nations fall into dishonor as they abandon their promises of justice. If the moral law cannot save us, perhaps it is time to try moral chaos. Chaos Ethics collides philosophers such as Kant, Nietzsche, Levinas, Mary Midgley, Alasdair MacInytre, Alain Badiou, Isabelle Stengers, and Bruno Latour with everything from cyberpunk science fiction and the fantasy novels of Michael Moorcock to Google, gay marriage, drone assassinations, and the ethics of cats and dogs. A strange and wondrous journey through morality viewed as a facet of imagination that offers a new perspective in which the diversity of ethics is a strength not a weakness, hesitation is more noble than certainty, and virtue can be expressed in both law and chaos.
that might be taken. Responsibility in Lévinas’ account is not therefore something you owe to yourself so much as it is something you hold for the other that you encounter: “The I before another is infinitely responsible” (Lévinas, 1963). Thus, according to Lévinas, we are all responsible for those that go hungry in our world in a way that is more fundamental than the way we are responsible for our own actions, because the ultimate source of our (unenforceable) ethical obligations is our need to
conditions for our outrage are not in alignment. This begins a series of discussions concerning issues in politics that might be better resolved if we considered them as ethical problems. “The Tragedy of Bureaucracy” asks about the petty evils of institutions and exposes the impossibility of merely calculating what is good. “Rights and Wrongs” shows how this distortion of moral imagination among the corporations leads to dishonor and catastrophe when it occurs in our national institutions. This
that our judgments claim objective validity and recognizing that they are shaped by a particular culture and by a particular problematic situation are not incompatible” (Putnam, 2002). MacIntyre’s view of our diversity of traditions that are internally rational but impossible to compare makes the same point, and stresses the importance of being able to recognize which traditions – which mythologies – are in play in any given situation. Relativism made it impossible to resist the abyss, since the
rationality and about truth, and to get to the heart of this problem means examining the way we think about fiction. To get there, however, I suggest a short detour via the concept of ‘rights’. Korsgaard (2012) neatly lays out Kant’s position, which remains essential to almost all liberal political ideals, as follows: Because human beings are rational beings, Kant believed human beings, unlike the other animals, are able to choose our own way of life. We reflect about what counts as a good life,
thought impregnable to mice because there was no viable approach. Yet there in the wooden recess was a mouse who had somehow defied my expectations and leapt from the microwave oven onto the shelving unit and found a rich store of tasty nuts. Armed with my trusty pint glass, I attempted to scoop him up, but he leapt from the shelf onto the work surfaces, and from there to the floor. I fell to my knees and brought down the pint glass to ensnare him – but I must have misjudged my angle because