theory and practice

One could construe many of the contemporary problems with ethics, and perhaps with our moral life in general, by pointing to the fact that one can nowadays know a lot about ethics, even teach it, without being a moral person. The practice of ethics has been severed from the theories about it. Some have lauded this division of labour; but many have doubted how appropriate it is in the realm of ethics.

This New Ethics tries to unite theory and praxis on two levels: first, the writing of the blog (theory) directly modifies my behavior (praxis) inasmuch as reflecting upon my ethical problems to some extent solves them, ie necessarily implements what i am writing about. In a second sense theory and praxis are united because a fair portion of the blog is concerned with methodological questions, ie i am discussing (theory) what seems to be working and what not in the way i am implementing this New Ethics (praxis). In effect, this New Ethics has no essence or definition since, by definition, it is supposed to improve upon and thus change itself.

This is obviously an attempt to reach back to older types of ethics (stoic, christian) that denied that one could say anything interesting about ethics without having first implemented the suggestion in one’s life. The main difference between the New Ethics and the older ethics is that i have eschewed as much as possible any substantive constraints, that is the New Ethics only wants to be a framework within which i might develop any kind of ethic, or no particular one. The only goal is simply to structure my attempts at living an examined life.


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