February Commquote

February’s rather contrarian quote on global ethics comes from Stefan Sonderling at the University of South Africa.

“It is commonly believed that the fabrication of common global ethics will provide the panacea for all the evils of the world, much like the belief in the myth of the magical power of communication. Global ethics are considered of great importance because they seem to respond to pressing practical needs of economy, business and about such attitudes is the fact that attempts to construct a new grand narrative of global ethics is emerging, even though the idea of grand narrative has been criticised by postmodern philosophy (Lyotard, 1984)…Globalisation is not a uniform world but could be understood as a paradox of unification and fragmentation, and is experienced as the ‘return of the Middle Ages’ (Eco, 1987), or as being a neo-medieval world of fragmented loyalties and overlapping sovereignties (Bull, 1985)…It is perhaps, as Latour (1993) suggests, that we have never been modern, or as Kaplan (2003) puts it: ‘The world is not modern or postmodern, but only a continuation of the ancient’. According to Meyrowitz (1986), ‘we may be returning to a world even older than that of the late Middle Ages. Many of the features of our ‘information age’ make us resemble the most primitive of social and political forms: the hunting and gathering society.’ Indeed, the imagery of the medieval Dark Ages is an apt description of the contemporary discourses on ethics: some clamour for a return to medieval religious values, while the increasing enforcement of the new saccharine global ethics has brought back a new Dark Ages and growth of ignorance (Rauch 1994; Thompson 2008).”

–Stefan Sonderling, What If Morality Should Turn Out to be the Danger of Dangers? Global Ethics and the Growth of Ignorance, in Communicatio, Volume 34 (2), 2008, pp 290-327

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