Just this moment completed the third of the four sections planned for Chaos Ethics. This has been a far more monumental undertaking than I originally imagined, although I hope that it is all the more worthwhile because of it. I have now completed all the discussions of the role of imagination in morality, the tension between Law Ethics and Chaos Ethics, wild justice and animal ethics, and now (in the third chapter) all the major moral fictions in play today. Where else can you find Kant rubbing shoulders with Badiou? Latour arguing against Singer? Midgley and MacInytre discussing vice and virtue? Phillipa Foot being run over by Allen Wood?
All that is left, other than a rather extensive editing process, is the final section which could be said to be the book’s applied ethics. This is a considerable break from what has become the norm in moral philosophy, where applied ethics have been treated as either impossible to discuss (because no answers can be reached) or not the relevant battleground (because meta-ethics must be defended to make applied ethics plausible). But I think I have successfully circumvented both these catastrophes, and it should be possible to apply what I’ve done so far to actual ethical quandaries like drone attacks, abortion, euthanasia, and drug taking, not to mention political quagmires like gay marriage, and attain conclusions – although these might not be answers.
I have repeatedly wondered if I ought to stop at the end of the third chapter, and omit the applied ethics, but I think that for the audience I hope to get the book must go on and tackle the political battlegrounds from an ethical stance – even though what it won’t do, in any case, is return the verdict each camp is committed to in advance. Since it is politics, and not ethics, that people are fired up about these days, it may only be by tearing apart the claims of the political as essentially unethical that I can engage anyone in worthwhile discussions of the book’s core argument.
75,754 words and counting!