Questioning Ethics: Contemporary Debates in Philosophy

Questioning Ethics: Contemporary Debates in Philosophy

Questioning Ethics: Contemporary Debates in Philosophy

Questioning Ethics: Contemporary Debates in Philosophy

Synopsis

This major discussion takes a look at some of the most important ethical issues confronting us today by some of the world¿¿"s leading thinkers. Including essays from leading thinkers, such as Jurgen Habermas, Alasdair MacIntyre, Julia Kristeva and Paul Ricoeur, the book¿¿"s highlight ¿¿" an interview with Jacques Derrida - presents the most accessible insight into his thinking on ethics and politics for many years. Exploring topics ranging from history, memory, revisionism, and the self and responsibility to democracy, multiculturalism, feminism and the future of politics, the essays are grouped into five thematic sections:* hermeneutics* deconstruction* critical theory* psychoanalysis* applied ethics.Each section considers the challenges posed by ethics and how critical thinking has transformed philosophy today. Questioning Ethics affords an unsurpassed overview of the state of ethical thinking today by some of the world¿¿"s foremost philosophers.

Excerpt

Richard Kearney and Mark Dooley

One of the key Continental thinkers of this century, Emmanuel Levinas, declared that ‘ethics is first philosophy’. Whether one agrees with this challenging claim or not it is certain that no philosophy can do without ethics. This book brings together some of the most recent debates on this subject in contemporary European thought.

Opening with a series of critical exchanges on the moral significance of memory, history and value (Ricoeur, Kearney, Barash, Greisch), the volume proceeds to the question of the role of responsibility and justice in deconstruction (Derrida, Caputo, Wood, Glendinning). The third section of the book comprises some of the most innovative thinkers in critical theory, debating such controversial issues as democracy (Habermas), multi-culturalism (Apel) and public reason (McCarthy, Rasmussen). The fourth part features three pioneering theorists of current controversies in the ethics and politics of psychoanalysis (Richardson, Kristeva, Critchley). A final section deals with three applications of these theories to the moral challenges of post-Enlightenment reason (MacIntyre), feminism (Cooke), and bioethics (Kemp).

We speak of ‘contemporary European ethics’ in the broadest sense to cover a generous range of philosophies running from phenomenology to theories of communicative action. The contributions to this volume include references to diverse thinkers, from Husserl to Wittgenstein, Kant to Marx, Foucault to Taylor, Heidegger to Freud. Our contributors themselves hail from different continents and cultures, and we are grateful to our translators who have made several of the foreign-language essays available in English for the first time.

It has been said that ethics is one of modern Continental thought’s forgotten subjects. We would hope that the current collection serves to revise such an opinion. It may even be argued that questioning ethics—as both a questioning of ethics and an ethics of questioning—is now a pivotal preoccupation for many of the leading figures working in contemporary European philosophy. In our post-Heideggerian, post-metaphysical, climate we are beginning to realize that to poetically dwell requires us also to

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