Monday, June 18, 2007

Contribution to a History of Ethical Crisis

The transition from late antiquity to early modernity is also a transition from Socratic deliberation to the Christian will; the one disabled by introspection, the other by the simultaneousl discovery of the I-will and the I-cannot, that is, iof multiple and conflicting wills in a single agent (Arendt, Responsibility nd Judgement). Gilbert Simondon suggests that what distinguishes the two epochs is the commitment of antiquity to linguistic progress, and the middele ages to religious, the latter more universal in its calling because not tied to the city and the language group. In the next phase transition, to the technological, which is even more primitive and even more universal because it is about the conditions for living, there should correspond an ethics. After the I-myself relation of the Socratics and the I-thou relation of the religious, an ethics of need and desire. Then what would follow would be more primitive still: an ethics of survival, that is an ecological ethics derived neither from language and reason, nor from nature and the divine but from the artifice of the human-natural relation which is technology. As a teacher, and because everyone likes a happy ending, I can offer the politics of hope. A good answer, but does it make a satisfactory queston?

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