An Existential Ethics for a Postmodern Age
Sheu, Chingshun J.
|Keywords:||倫理學;倫理鏈;意義經濟;存在主義;後結構主義;沙特;巴迪烏;史托納;ethics;ethical chain;economy of meaning;existentialism;poststructuralism;Jean-Paul Sartre,Alain Badiou;Stoner||Issue Date:||2015||Abstract:||
The ethical turn in postmodern thought has made ever more pressing the question, How is one to live one’s life? In this thesis, I propose an answer based on Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialism, extended upon by the work of Alain Badiou. Chapter One introduces an existential understanding of ethics and meaning, presenting concepts such as the ethical chain, the economy of meaning, and bad faith, that lead us to a perspectivist non-binding normative ethics that is compatible with the three poststructuralist tenets of performativity, contextualization, and the amelioration of difference. Chapter Two addresses the validity today of Sartrean existentialism — including not only Being and Nothingness but also the Notebooks for an Ethics, the two volumes of the Critique of Dialectical Reason, and the Hope Now interviews with Benny Levy—via a series of Refutations to charges that it is outdated; that it is irrational; that it is not universal and therefore not a philosophy; that it is nihilist; that it absolutizes freedom and is therefore relativist; that it is humanist; that it is metaphysical, or ontotheological; and that it is incompatible with the poststructuralist belief in the decentering of the center. I establish that Sartrean existentialism withstands these criticisms. Chapter Three brings in the work of Alain Badiou to elaborate upon Sartre’s rather vague notion of an Apocalypse, which Badiou calls an event. I provide biographical and intellectual links between the work of Sartre and that of Badiou, before detailing how Badiou extends and enhances the Sartrean framework in his development of the structure of an event. Chapter Four employs the Sartrean-Badiouian existentialist framework in a reading of John Williams’s novel, Stoner, whose protagonist seems ordinary and unsuccessful, but who is shown with the aid of my reading to lead a life full of meaning. This reading also brings in details of Badiou’s four truth procedures and thus makes concrete his often abstract thought. Chapter Five concludes with a summary of the previous four chapters, followed by a direct comparison of Sartre’s and Badiou’s thought. I then engage with two other leading postmodern ethical theories, Richard Rorty’s liberal ironism and Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida’s ethics of the Other, to show how Sartrean-Badiouian existentialism offers the more comprehensive ethical framework.
|Appears in Collections:||外國語文學系|
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