Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil

Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil

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Overview

Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil by Alain Badiou

Ethical questions dominate today's political and academic agendas. While government think-tanks ponder the dilemmas of bioethics, medical ethics and professional ethics, respect for human rights and reverence for the Other have become matters of virtually instinctive consensus.

Alain Badiou, one of the most powerful and unusual voices in contemporary French philosophy, explodes the facile assumptions behind this recent ethical turn. He shows how our prevailing ethical principles serve to reinforce an ideology of the status quo and demonstrates that an ethics conceived in terms of negative human rights or tolerance of difference cannot sustain decisive and precisely situated interventions any more than they can underpin a coherent concept of evil. Our consensual ethical norms amount to nothing more than a jumbled confusion of legalistic formalism, scandalised opinion, and theological mystification.

By contrast, what Badiou calls an 'ethic of truths' is designed both to sustain and inspire a disciplined, subjective adherence to a militant cause (be it political or scientific, artistic or romantic), and to discern a finely demarcated zone of application for the concept of evil. He defends an effectively superhuman integrity over the respect for merely human rights, asserts a partisan universality over the negotiation of merely particular interests, and appeals to an 'immortal' value beyond the protection of our merely mortal privileges.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781859844359
Publisher: Verso Books
Publication date: 11/28/2002
Series: Wo Es War Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Alain Badiou teaches philosophy at the École normale supérieure and the Collège international de philosophie in Paris. In addition to several novels, plays and political essays, he has published a number of major philosophical works, including Theory of the Subject, Being and Event, Manifesto for Philosophy, and Gilles Deleuze. His recent books include The Meaning of Sarkozy, Ethics, Metapolitics, Polemics, The Communist Hypothesis, Five Lessons on Wagner, and Wittgenstein’s Anti-Philosophy.

Peter Hallward teaches at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, London. He is the author of several books including Absolutely Postcolonial, Badiou: A Subject to Truth, Out of This World: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Creation, and Damming the Flood.

Table of Contents

Translator's Introductionvii
Notes on the Translationxxxvi
Preface to the English Editionliii
Introduction1
1Does Man Exist?4
2Does the Other Exist?18
3Ethics as a Figure of Nihilism30
4The Ethic of Truths40
5The Problem of Evil58
Conclusion90
AppendixPolitics and Philosophy: An Interview with Alain Badiou95
Bibliography145
Index163

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Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
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