Monday, June 18, 2007

Actions and annotations

Distinguishing the good and right as norms, goals or essences is simpler: such ethics are concerned with the nature of good and right, not with right or good actions. The question about right action is a question about goals, but as ecology has shown, it is also a question about consequences (1). The intentional and unintentional are both elements of right action (2). This is true of media ethics to the extent that we understand communication as action. (3)

(1) Mediations that do not communicate cannot be said to be ethical or unethical any more than a tree or stone, but neither can they be expected to have consequences. (see 2) This distinguishes communication from the unversal principle of mediation. Communication is an action; mediation is merely a fact of life.

(2) Since Nietzsche and Freud we have known about unconscious motivations, even in the best of people. Now we must confront unconscious consequences, even in the best of worlds.

(3) An Aristotelean ontology would only ask, in parallel with Socratic ethics, that thigs should not contradict themselves. The idea of the world as mediation asks no such thing.

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