Chaos Ethics Out Now!

Chaos Ethics.cover

It's official - Chaos Ethics is in the warehouse, and the ebook has also been digitally issued. That means even though the release date is still a little over two weeks away, the book is already available to buy as both a paperback and an ebook.

This completes my three year mission to write a trilogy of books on the philosophy of imagination for Zero Books, and it's been one hell of a ride - before this last book had come out, I'd already used the first (Imaginary Games) to get a doctorate! My infinite thanks to those of you who have come along on this journey with me, and to everyone who explores these three books in the years to come.

I'd like to take this opportunity to once again thank everyone who has helped me with this book, which has been a far greater undertaking than I ever expected. Here's an extract from the acknowledgements:

Then there are the hordes of people who have helped me on either the manuscript itself or the long process leading up to it (many of them unwitting accomplices in my crimes!), including Neil Bundy, Peter Crowther, Ben Cowley, Nick Elliott, Jack Monahan, Jon Rouse, Wayne Thompson, translucy, Kelly Waldrop-Briggs, everyone at Chorlton Unitarian Church (true agents of chaos!), and a host of other people who, via my blog Only a Game, helped shape my views on all manner of ethical issues over the past decade. Especial thanks are due to everyone at my blog who discussed the trolley problem with me, including Bezman, Tom Camfield, Duoae, Corvus Elrod, Darius Kazemi, Marc Majcher, Duncan Monro, John Peacock, and Foster Nichols. I also owe a debt of gratitude to Cathy Bryant for getting me interested in philosophy in the first place, many moons ago in a very different life to the one I am living now. If it were not for her, the course of my life would have been very different indeed!

Lastly, but certainly not least, there are those who provided invaluable feedback on the draft manuscript including Vitor Bosshard, Gary Jones, Theo Malekin, Matt Mower, Michael Pereira, Sushma Sahajpal, and Oscar Strik, many of whom have been great friends of this project - some from as far back as the germinal 'Ethics Campaign' on my blog! The final version of this book is greatly improved by virtue of their contributions, although it goes without saying that any remaining mistakes are mine and mine alone. Michael and Oscar in particular went above and beyond the call of duty in providing assistance, and for this I am forever in their debt.

Well, what are you waiting for - go order a copy of Chaos Ethics right now!

Chaos Ethics in Production

Well, it's done: Chaos Ethics is uploaded to the publisher website! I’m just waiting for final word from Mike Moorcock, then I’ll give them the authorisation to begin production. It’s been a long road – this book really didn’t want me to finish it! – but I’m pleased with how this turned out. My first book of moral philosophy is finally on the home stretch…

First Chaos Ethics Endorsement

“An elegant yet passionate defence of ethics, the book carefully considers various conflicting accounts of what it means to live a good life before settling on imagination and narrative as chaotic and transient foundations of ethical thinking. Ethics for Bateman is both necessary and necessarily tumultuous; it is also a story which we should try and tell as best we can. Thought-provoking, engaging even if at times controversial, Chaos Ethics is a pleasure to read - and to agree and disagree with.”

Joanna Zylinska, Professor of New Media and Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London, author of Bioethics in the Age of New Media and The Ethics of Cultural Studies

The Chaos Ethics Endorsers

The most surreal aspect of my next philosophy book, Chaos Ethics, is the email exchanges with endorsers Mary Midgley and Mike Moorcock... As David Byrne sang: 'How did I get here?!' Mike, who is the closest thing I have to a personal hero, is about halfway through the manuscript and seems quite into it (which is great news!). It's a big moment for me.

Moorcock to Endorse Chaos Ethics

Getting ever-closer to a final manuscript, and have finally sorted out three potential endorsers for the book. One of them, I’m proud to report, is Michael Moorcock, whose work has been extremely influential on me, and indeed forms an important part of the story of Chaos Ethics. I’ll be thrilled to have his endorsement for this book – assuming that he is inclined to do so after reading it! However, Mike can’t fit it in until he returns to Texas in October, so this will slightly delay production. Still, I can submit the manuscript to Zero Books in early November and still have the book out for May 2014.

We Do Not Choose Our Fate

Finally reading the last part of Michael Moorcock's epic Colonel Pyat quartet, The Vengeance of Rome, which is an absolutely incredible Victorian-style novel sequence exploring the circumstances leading up to the holocaust. It has the most self-deluded, unreliable narrator ever written, and manages to find humour in the most horrific of situations - there's really nothing like it. This quote struck a chord:

People judge you too readily. They think you deliberately choose your fate. They do not understand how you gradually slide into situations from which escape becomes impossible. What seems a temporary diversion on your life's road looks, in the perspective of history, like a culmination, an example of your inner evil!

Editing Chaos

Typewriter Deep into the final edits of "Chaos Ethics", and caught between the mental image of the manuscript I was writing and the gradually emerging book I am editing. This is not quite a caterpillar-to-butterfly metamorphosis since it is mostly remaining the same - it is more akin to the change a woodland makes when it ceases to be wild and becomes instead a curated park. The most significant adaptation I am making in this respect is specifically geared at making the book easier to tackle by its future readers, but in the process it destroys something I had thought valuable: the flow of the text.

A consistent theme from the pre-reader feedback is that it's easy to get lost in parts of the book. Partly this is because it has a rather wide scope (taking in 4 billion years of moral chaos, albeit mostly focussed on the last three centuries), but partly it's because the chapters don't always explain their purposes. As a result, I'm adding a lot of 'this chapter' paragraphs as guides - even though adding them prevents the prose from flowing melodically from section to section. The chapters I had thought had the best rhythm were simultaneously those most difficult to orientate within. So like the national parks, I'm trying to add signposts that aid in navigation without marring the landscape.

It's been nice to have feedback from several people this time around - but taking it all into account makes me feel the previous books were somewhat rushed. Still, I am on target for 'the treble' - three philosophy books in three years - a meaningless achievement I'm keen to claim. Now, back to the editing!

Chaos Ethics Ruminations

Starting to get a trickle of feedback on Chaos Ethics – and thus far the response is positive! Several readers of the manuscript have been chewing on the first few chapters, and one has swallowed the whole book down and coughed up an annotated furball in response. I suspect at least one more is close to doing the same soon. There’s still some issues to address, but on the whole people are finding it stimulating and inspiring – which is great to hear, as I have worried more than is sensible about how I have pitched this book.

Alas, the endorsements are proving more difficult. I’ve already had it politely turned down by Allen W. Wood, Bruno Latour, and Mark Vernon – the problem mostly being lack of time. Will be approaching Mary Midgley and Michael Moorcock shortly, but I’m going to need some new leads if I’m going to get three solid endorsements. Much to do before this one is finally in print!