Academic journal article Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies

(Bio)ethical and Social Reconstructions in Transmodernity

Academic journal article Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies

(Bio)ethical and Social Reconstructions in Transmodernity

Article excerpt

Abstract: Transmodern ethics establishes moral norms on liberal, pluralist and pragmatic principles. We see a comeback of the negation morals, however not of ontology-anchored morals, as is the case of the God who picks favourites or of the jealous God paradigm, and not even of morals anchored in a contractualist perspective, as is the case in the modern period. The preferred focus is on the value of positivism, of cooperation as a source of efficiency, of personal enrichment, be it cultural, spiritual, or moral, derived from the access to alterity. Tolerance as an ethical value is legitimised by a new, utilitarian humanism. The ethical construction of identity revolves around the value of loyalty to a tradition, a dogma, a mentality, and by extension to any coherent system liable to generate a sense of belonging. Postindustrial ethics uses for instance the value of loyalty as a strategy in marketing, organisational development, political propaganda etc. The policies used in order to increase the loyalty of a shop's customers, the employee's loyalty for the company she works for, the supporter's loyalty to his team, are the translation in layman terms of the loyalty ethics that in spiritual terms was one of the foundations of orthodoxy as loyalty to the tradition of the holy fathers. The values of equality, liberty and fraternity have been more than that, as they have laid the foundations of the modern society.

Key Words: ethical reconstruction; affirmative ethics; retributive ethics; ethical dillemas; constructionism

Introduction

Postmodernity features the ascension of environmental, feminist, ethnic movements, that debate the fundamental issues of 20th century man and society, a century that could rightly be called a century of extremes1. Gilles Lipovetsky2 considers that postmodern society is a post-moralist one, at the twilight of duty, a more appropriate name for it being "age of minimalism"3 rather than "the society of generalised permissiveness"4. Transmodernism is structurally opposed to postmodernism, accusing the latter of inconsistency in its radical deconstructivism effort5. However, the sphere of transmodern ethics still has vast areas of juxtaposition with the postmodern ethics, being separated from it by the introduction of the idea of responsibility.

Transmodernity is a future-oriented ethical project that aims for the moral liberation of the entire humanity, in which both modernity and its negated alterity "both modernity and its negated alterity [...] co-realize themselves in a process of mutual fertilization"6.

Transmodern ethics establishes moral norms on liberal, pluralist and pragmatic principles. We see a comeback of the negation morals, however not of ontology-anchored morals, and a preference for a focus on the positive placement of cooperation as a source of efficiency, of personal enrichment, be it cultural, spiritual, or moral. Tolerance as an ethical value and communication with the Other are legitimised by a new, utilitarian humanism7. We are also witnessing a sectorialisation of ethics and its migration towards its deontological dimension.

The Christian Roots and Dimension of Transmodern Ethics

Dabrock8 identifies a moral consanguinity between Christianity and contemporary social democratic commitments to human rights and human dignity. From the perspective of virtue ethics, Gianni Vattimo9 points out the Protestant-Christian roots of individualist ethics specific to Western culture and to the preservation of the values of Christian ethics, despite the rejection of the Christian ontological foundation: "the lay space of modern liberalism is far more religious than liberalism and Christian thought are willing to recognize ... Christianity's vocation consists in deepening its own physiognomy as source and condition for the possibility of secularity".

In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism Max Weber10 analysis the types of society generated by the specificity of the religious ethical vision. …

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