By Alain Badiou
Alain Badiou, some of the most strong voices in modern French philosophy, exhibits how our triumphing moral ideas serve eventually to augment an ideology of the established order and fail to supply a framework for an efficient realizing of the concept that of evil.
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Extra resources for Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil (Wo es war)
What, then, are we to make of the other, of differences, and of their ethical recognition? Infinite alterity is quite simply what there is. Any--experi--. ------=ence at all is the infinite E v e m e apparently reflexive experience of myself is by no - - 26 DOES T H E O T H E R EXIST? ' There are as many differences, say, between a Chinese peasant and a young Norwegian professional as between myself and anybody at all, including myself. As many, but also, then, neither more nor less. ethics that offers, without changing its means of investigation, its 'recognition' and its social workers.
Right from the first moment in the constitution of contemporary subjectivity (as 'public opinion'), ethics has duly played its accompanying role. For from the beginning it confirms the absence of any project, of any emancipatory i politics, or any genuinely collective cause. By blocking, in the name of Evil and of human rights, the way towards the X' positive prescription of possibilities, the way towards the I I ETHICS ,I , J' ! ETHICS AS A FIGURE OF NIHILISM Good as the superhumanity of humanity, towards the Immortal as the master of time, it accepts the play of necessity as the objective basis for all judgements of value.
This genuinely admirable book lends the form of art to a true ethics. 6. Andre Glucksmann, The Master Thinkers, 1977 . It is Glucksmann who has been most insistent on the absolute priority of the awareness of Evil, and on the idea that the catastrophic primacy [pnmat] of the Good was a creation of philosophy. 'Ethical' ideology is thus rooted, in part, in the work of the 'new philosophers' of the late 1970s. 7. See C6cile Winter, Qu'en est-il de l'historicite actuelle de la cliniqw? (inspired by an idea of Foucault's).