Judith Butler, Moral Philosophy, and Critical Responsibility
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: Fordham University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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This project has seen several instantiations and transformations; the most radical transformation was the last one, which separates this book from its sibling submitted as a dissertation at the University of Tübingen during the winter term of 2003–4. The overarching arguments of the two versions are quite different from each other. The dissertation centered on staging scenes ...
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While it is a commonplace to begin with the question of how to live well, it seems to me that we still run up against this question time and again—this question that Socrates posed as the central question for philosophy. Living with others as we do, this question also means how to live well given the social circumstances we find ourselves in. How to live well? How to know ...
Part One: Challenges to the Subject
1. Subjects in Subjection: Bodies, Desires, and the Psychic Life of Norms
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That our bodies, our desires, and even our psychic lives are not separable from the way that norms and social power act on us is not just an uncomfortable thought or a theory that adequately seems to sum up experiences that we might have had. If we think about it a bit longer, then this concept puts our commitments to the test about how we think about our capacity ...
2. Moral Subjects and Agencies of Morality
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The subject as an autonomous knowing and acting subject in control of him-or herself has come into question not only because of the theoretical interventions from various intellectual camps, such as psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, feminism, and postcolonial studies. Much more mundanely, our daily experiences often make us—sometimes painfully—aware of the limits ...
Part Two: Responsibility
3. Responsibility as Response: Levinas and Responsibility for Others
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Subject formation in relation to responsibility and moral philosophy pertains to the question of what it means to think about the formation of the subject as an ethical subject or, in other words, as an ethical agent. It is possible to approach this question of ethical agency through the issues of the will and intentionality, as described in the last chapter, in order to ...
4. Ambivalent Desires of Responsibility: Laplanche and Psychoanalytic Translations
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Given contemporary critiques of the subject and of the moral subject in particular, the project of this book is to consider the implications of these critiques for rethinking moral philosophy. If we start with a revised understanding of the subject in terms of its formation, rethinking responsibility consequently becomes a pressing question, since we no longer have the ...
Part Three: Critique
5. The Aporia of Critique and the Future of Moral Philosophy
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My discussion of responsibility as a key concept for moral philosophy in previous chapters centers on articulating responsibility in terms of responding to others and as a mode of relating and being with others. Responsibility as a question and problematic of moral conduct emerges as a genuinely ethical question because of our condition of being with others. I argue in ...
6. Critique and Political Ethics: Justice as a Question
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None of us live as fully self-sufficient, autonomous beings; we are implicated in the lives of others not only at the beginning and end of our lives, but all throughout them. We live with others, proximate to others whom we encounter personally, whom we might wish to encounter, or whom we might wish that we would need not encounter, and with others whom we ...
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Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2008