Re: ethics and poststructuralism

Richard Duerden wrote:
> A few quick and almost random additions to an important conversation:
> Much of what Derrida has said, starting at least with the "Afterword"
> to Limited Inc, suggests that his own agenda has all along been an
> ethical one.
> To the extent that poststructuralism, or postmodernism anyway, is
> concerned with alterity, it has always been concerned with how we
> relate to the other and to others. Even if poststructuralism is
> sometimes less than explicit on what follows critique, Emmanuel
> Levinas provides a clear connection between the critique of
> metaphysics and totality on the one hand, and the priority of ethics
> and otherness on the other.
> This raises a question for me: if poststructuralist ethics starts
> with the experience of otherness, what do we say to Foucault's
> increased interest in self? Granted that self is constructed, still
> is Foucault's concern with self a residual liberalism, or a survival of
> the death of 'man', or is there a better way to understand it?
> Rick Duerden
> English, BYU

Hi, Richard. I think post-HUMANIST ethics starts with the experience of
otherness...and the ways in which it makes US possible. And I think F's
turn toward the self at the end of his life indicated his increasing awareness
that, after the "self" had been so utterly de/con/structed, a reconsideration
of how we behave toward ourselves and conceive of our Selves had become
imparative. That any "politics"--telling others how to behave--now DEMANDED a
reconsideration of ethics/ethos. This is nothing new, in fact, I believe F
got it from Nietzsche (in any case, N said all this first).

Diane Davis
Old Dominion Univ


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