The Ethics of Resistance

Tyranny of the Absolute

The Ethics of Resistance

Opening a new debate on ethical reasoning after Kant, Drew Dalton addresses the problem of the absolute in ethical and political thought. Les mer
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The Ethics of Resistance

Opening a new debate on ethical reasoning after Kant, Drew Dalton addresses the problem of the absolute in ethical and political thought. Attacking the foundation of European philosophical morality, he critiques the idea that in order for ethical judgement to have any real power, it must attempt to discover and affirm some conception of the absolute good. Without rejecting the essential role the absolute plays within ethical reasoning, Dalton interrogates the assumed value of the absolute.

Dalton brings some of the most influential contemporary philosophical traditions into dialogue with each other: speculative realists like Badiou and Meillassoux; phenomenologists, including Husserl, Heidegger, and Levinas; German Idealists, especially Kant and Schelling; psychoanalysts Freud and Lacan; and finally, post-structuralists, specifically Foucault, Deleuze, and Ranciere. The relevance of these thinkers to concrete socio-political problems is shown through reflections on the Holocaust, suicide bombings, the rise of neo-liberalism and neo-nationalism, as well as rampant consumerism and racism.

This book re-defines ethical reasoning as that which refuses absolutes and resists what Milton's devil in Paradise Lost called the "tyranny of heaven." Against traditional ethical reasoning, Dalton sees evil not as a moral failure, but as the result of an all too easy assent to the absolute; an assent which can only be countered through active resistance. For Dalton, resistance to the absolute is the sole channel through which the good can be defined.

INTRODUCTION: Sympathy for the Devil: On the Ethics of Acquiescence

PART ONE: THE TYRANNY OF HEAVEN
CHAPTER 1: The Trouble with Post-Kantian Ethical Philosophy: Alan Badiou and Quentin Meillassoux on the Vicissitudes of Ethical Absolutes
CHAPTER 2: Phenomenology, Ethics, and the Other: Rediscovering the Possibility of an Ethical Absolute with Husserl, Heidegger, and Levinas
CHAPTER 3: Problems with the Other: Levinas and Schelling on the Weight of the Infinite and the Reversibility of Ethical Demand
INTERLUDE: The Tyranny of Heaven: On the Necessity of an Ethics of Resistance

PART TWO: TOWARDS AN ETHICS OF RESISTANCE
CHAPTER 4: Don't Give up, Don't Give in! Jacques Lacan and Ethics of Psychoanalysis
CHAPTER 5: Carving a Space of Freedom: Michel Foucault on the Ethical Power of Resistance
CONCLUSION: The Ethics of Demonic Resistance
Bibliography
Index

A polemical and political critique of European ethical philosophy, diagnosing the problem with an uncritical affirmation of the absolute good and prescribing an ethical resistance to it.

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