The Ethics of Resistance
Tyranny of the Absolute
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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
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.