Ethics of Relationality, Practices of Nonviolence: A Reading of Butler's Ethics
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
The purpose of this essay is to examine Judith Butler’s approach to the problem of ethics, and the ways in which she attempts to reformulate notions of morality and responsibility based on an understanding of the subject as inherently bound to others within a context of normative structures that exceed its own influence. For Butler, this bond implies that the subject’s constitution is structured within what she calls a ”scene of address,” where it emerges into a social field by being appealed to by others, and replying to that appeal by giving an account of itself. By setting out to examine the way in which she puts two influential thinkers—namely Foucault and Levinas—to work, I will examine her notion of scenes of address more closely, and try to show how it enables her to pose the problems of ethics and morality in novel ways. I will argue that her ethics should be understood as one of relationality, since it moves away from the self-sufficient, autonomous subject as the outset for ethics, towards an understanding our very being as dependent on the being of others. This, I propose, puts it in contrast with many established ways of thinking about ethics, both within the Western philosophical tradition, and in views of ethics more generally. Thus, I hope to show that Butler’s ethics constitutes a valuable resource with regard to the question of ethical responsibility. Finally, I will propose that it carries significant implications that point towards ethical nonviolence, and that these are of increasing importance to us today.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 29 p.
Butler, Foucault, Levinas, ethics, scenes of address, relationality, nonviolence, subjectivity
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-27887OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-27887DiVA: diva2:828146
Subject / course
Smith, Nicholas, Högskolelektor
Cavalcante Schuback, Marcia Sá, Professor