Fables of Responsibility: Aberrations and Predicaments in Ethics and Politics
This is an analysis of the ways a linked set of ethico-political concepts responsibility, rights, freedom, equality, and justice might be re-thought, not simply jettisoned or reactively defended, in view of the linguistic deconstruction of their underlying principle, the individu... read full description below.
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|Library of Congress
||Political ethics, Politics and literature, Philosophy
||College/higher education;Professional and scholarly
Description of this Book
This is an analysis of the ways a linked set of ethico-political concepts responsibility, rights, freedom, equality, and justice might be re-thought, not simply jettisoned or reactively defended, in view of the linguistic deconstruction of their underlying principle, the individual human subject. In a series of readings of contemporary thinkers (notably Foucault and Derrida) and their philosophical antecedents (Marx, Nietzsche, Sade), the author argues that an encounter with the difficulties of reading (literary) language, precisely what resists the immediate comprehension or mastery of a subject, enables in turn a new thought of rights and responsibility. What literature teaches us about politics is that the absence of foundations, whether in the world or in the subject, far from being its downfall, is its very condition of possibility: because a foundation or a final resolution is lacking, we have politics and ethics and their predicaments. Like the reading of a text, which is never quite done, any responsibility worthy of the name cannot rest in the good conscience of its certain accomplishment; likewise, the assertion of rights can never be circumscribed or guaranteed hence the ongoing necessity of the ethical and the political.
Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings
||Fables of Responsibility is a tenacious and daring exploration of issues deriving from the inseparable histories of ethics and of fiction. Some famous texts are placed here in an unfamiliar and provocative context: how they speak to the question of responsibility and how they understand freedom. Keenan genuinely insists on reading, on not allowing nuance or complication to be ignored. Yet at the same time he is deeply committed to explaining, providing an outstanding critical discussion of other recent treatments of theory and politics. --Cynthia Chase, Cornell University
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