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Postmodern Ethics Paperback – December 8, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0631186939 ISBN-10: 063118693X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (December 8, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 063118693X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631186939
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #544,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Bauman must be given credit for placing what Kant called the mysteries of 'moral law inside me' as the ultimate riddle of morality. His criticism of all moral theories that reduce morality to the utilitarian rational choice of social actors is convincing." Jose Casanova, New School for Social Research

From the Back Cover

Zygmunt Bauman's powerful and persuasive study of the postmodern perspective on ethics is particularly welcome. For Bauman the great issues of ethics have lost none of their topicality: they simply need to be seen, and dealt with, in a wholly new way. Our era, he suggests, may actually represent a dawning, rather than a twilight, for ethics.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Nessander VINE VOICE on April 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
In this imposing work, Bauman gives a readable account of the situation of ethics in today's world. First, he explains the central arguments around ethics in "modernity" before turning to how these are transformed now in "postmodern" thought.
These are not easy issues to address, but Bauman does a pretty good job in bringing it into language that most people will be able to understand, while not watering down the thoughts of postmodern ethicists such as E. Levinas, whose work Bauman admires. Since Levinas is so difficult to read and understand, I think that this book can serve as a useful introduction to his thought, the conditions surrounding it, and the thought of other such thinkers.
Bauman's work is of course informed by his own work and thinking on these subjects, and readers should also look to his book "Liquid Modernity" in which he presents his views. I only give this book 4 stars, however, because it remains difficult reading - it could have been slightly more well written.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Riccardo Pelizzo on January 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
This revealing book offers a postmodern view on the moral actions.

It's not possible to be a person wrapped up happily in her own egoism, because the nature and destiny of the Self are inseparable from the unconditioned and unlimited responsibility for the Other, according to the thought of Levinas, who provides Bauman with the foundation for his th theorization of the postmodern ethics.

Moral impulses are innate and the individual, not the society, is their only guardian. In the time of the postmodern the individual discovers an authentic moral condition and measures himself with the autonomy - and the loneliness - of his moral choices.

Bauman severely criticizes modernity ( the Enlightenment) for constructing an utilitarian ethics based on the idea of an universal code of rational rules and on the moral unreliability of the individual.

The moral condition of the individuals, in the postmodern time, is marked, on the contrary, by a sort of ambivalence, not-rationality, uncertainty and not- universality.

The reader, and the moral actor, will be deeply moved by this book about the "morality without an ethical code'. Thisbook does not provide any answer to the moral dilemmas but invites us to consider that the only way to ensure the morality of our choices is to suspect that our Self is never moral enough.
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Bauman's book does an excellent job of establishing and critiquing the nature and historical context of postmodern ethics. In part 1 of the book Bauman explores the theoretical context tracing the development of ethics out of the Enlightenment era and then shows how we have transitioned into a new context. Again, the emphasis here is theoretical-historical. In the second part of the book Bauman explores major influences on postmodern ethics such as urbanization, technology, government, globalization, and changing social structures. Bauman's perspective is not positive. At almost every turn Bauman finds the postmodern context extremely troubling, and in many respects dehumanizing. But I think his analysis is right on--not simply because he finds the postmodern ethical situation problematic--but because his analysis uncovers the way people are actually behaving and tracing eh consequences logical and practical of this behavior.

To the negative, Bauman's book suffers from being boring and a tendency to ramble, and even be a slight preachy. But the positives far outweigh the negatives and endorse it gladly.
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