Moral Blindness: The Loss of Sensitivity in Liquid Modernity

Overview

Evil is not confined to war or to circumstances in which peopleare acting under extreme duress. Today it more frequently revealsitself in the everyday insensitivity to the suffering of others, inthe inability or refusal to understand them and in the casualturning away of one’s ethical gaze. Evil and moral blindnesslurk in what we take as normality and in the triviality andbanality of everyday life, and not just in the abnormal andexceptional cases.

The distinctive kind of moral ...

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Overview

Evil is not confined to war or to circumstances in which peopleare acting under extreme duress. Today it more frequently revealsitself in the everyday insensitivity to the suffering of others, inthe inability or refusal to understand them and in the casualturning away of one’s ethical gaze. Evil and moral blindnesslurk in what we take as normality and in the triviality andbanality of everyday life, and not just in the abnormal andexceptional cases.

The distinctive kind of moral blindness that characterizes oursocieties is brilliantly analysed by Zygmunt Bauman and LeonidasDonskis through the concept of adiaphora: the placing of certainacts or categories of human beings outside of the universe of moralobligations and evaluations. Adiaphora implies an attitude ofindifference to what is happening in the world – a moralnumbness.  In a life where rhythms are dictated by ratingswars and box-office returns, where people are preoccupied with thelatest gadgets and forms of gossip, in our ‘hurriedlife’ where attention rarely has time to settle on any issueof importance, we are at serious risk of losing our sensitivity tothe plight of the other. Only celebrities or media stars can expectto be noticed in a society stuffed with sensational, valuelessinformation.

This probing inquiry into the fate of our moral sensibilities willbe of great interest to anyone concerned with the most profoundchanges that are silently shaping the lives of everyone in ourcontemporary liquid-modern world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In order to overcome moral blindness, we have to break thevicious circle of consumerism: politics has to address, again, realproblems, universities have to provide us with ‘intellectualslow food’, but most of all we have to regain our dialogicnature – the ability to tell stories and listen to them.Moral Blindness is definitely a good lesson of that.”
European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745662756
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/25/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

ZYGMUNT BAUMAN is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Leeds, UK. His many books have become international bestsellers and have been translated into more than thirty languages.

LEONIDAS DONSKIS is a member of the European parliament, professor at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania, and author of over thirty books.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Towards a Theory of Human Secrecy and Unfathomability, or Exposing Elusive Forms of Evil 1

1. From the Devil to Frighteningly Normal and Sane People 17

2. The Crisis of Politics and the Search for a Language of Sensitivity 50

3. Between Fear and Indifference: The Loss of Sensitivity 94

4. Consuming University: The New Sense of Meaninglessness and the Loss of Criteria 131

5. Rethinking The Decline of the West 168

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