Zygmunt Bauman en die vraag na die oorsprong van moraliteit : die sosiale of die persoonlike?

Nienaber, Alet (2003-04)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In contrast with the moral philosophy that morality is dependent on society preached by Durkheim and his disciples Bauman argues that the origin of morality cannot be found within social structures. According to Bauman certain social mechanisms hinder morality rather than promote it. He discusses two social structures to argue this point: socialization (within the modem condition) and sociality (within the postmodern condition). Within both structures, the Other is of functional value, and responsibility for this Other is denied. Within the structure of socialization responsibility is denied because of adiaphorization within the organization (certain actions are declared morally neutral), and also because ethical codes are adhered to. Within sociality responsibility never even arises and we find the postmodern version of adiaphorization. According to Bauman, morality originates with the personal responsibility for the Other. His argument is based on Levinas's version of who this Other is and what responsibility entails. According to Levinas, responsibility is non-reciprocal and asymmetrical. However, this relationship changes the moment that the third (or society) enters. At this moment we operate according to certain conditions and standards. Instead of placing the origin of morality in society, Bauman thus argues for a 'personal' morality. This leads to the problem that he does not provide enough space for morality within society. Without refuting his emphasis on a 'personal' morality, I focus on an alternative origin. If we agree that morality originates within the personal imagination, it does not only include Levinas's pre-ontological theory, but enlarges the idea of what morality encompasses to also leave space for morality within the the social sphere.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Bauman se morele filosofie het (anders as dié van Durkheim en sy navolgers) ten grondslag dat die oorsprong van moraliteit nie binne sosiale strukture gevind kan word nie. Hy argumenteer dat sosiale meganismes binne sekere sosiale strukture juis moraliteit ondermyn. Die sosiale strukture waarna hy hier verwys is socialization (binne die moderne kondisie) en sociality (binne die postmoderne kondisie). Binne beide 'strukure' het die Ander funksionele waarde en word verantwoordelikheid vir hierdie Ander ontduik. Binne socialization word verantwoordelikheid vir die Ander ontduik deur middel van adiaforisasie in die organisasie (deurdat sekere aksies moreel neutraal verklaar word) en ook deur die navolg van bepaalde etiese kodes. Binne sociality kom verantwoordelikheid glad nie eers ter sprake nie en ontstaan die postmoderne weergawe van adiaforisasie. Moraliteit is volgens Bauman veel eerder in die persoonlike verantwoordelikheid vir die Ander gesetel. Hy bou veral voort op Levinas se beskouing van wie hierdie Ander is en wat hierdie verantwoordelikheid behels. Dié verantwoordelikheid is, naamlik onvoorwaardelik en asimmetries. Hierdie verhouding verander egter sodra die derde (die sosiale) op die toneel verskyn - dan het ons te make met standaarde en voorwaardes. My probleem met Bauman se beskouing is daarin geleë dat dit nie ruimte vir moraliteit binne die gemeenskap laat nie. Sonder om sy klem op 'n 'persoonlike' moraliteit af te skiet, fokus ek op 'n alternatiewe oorsprong vir moraliteit. Indien ons toegee dat moraliteit ontstaan binne die mens se verbeelding, verbreed dit die verstaan van wat moraliteit behels. Sodoende word Levinas se pre-ontologiese teorie ingesluit, maar word daar ook plek gelaat vir moraliteit binne die sosiale sfeer.

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